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Mike Nichols to receive top AFI honor

Award to be given to 'Graduate' director next summer

Director Mike Nichols has been selected to receive the American Film Institute's 38th AFI Life Achievement Award.

The AFI's highest honor will be presented at a tribute, broadcast by TV Land Prime, in Los Angeles next summer.

"Genius is a word oft overused in our world, but surely not in the case of Mike Nichols," Howard Stringer, chair of the AFI board of trustees, said in announcing the honor. "His artistry has spanned the mediums of modern storytelling -- movies, television and the stage -- and his gifts across five decades continue to inspire artists and audiences alike."

"I'm surprised and pleased. The AFI award is truly an honor. I feel very blessed," Nichols said, adding, "I was watching 'The Graduate' on my BlackBerry last week and it really holds up."

Nichols has received four best director Academy Award nominations, and he won the Oscar in 1968 for directing "The Graduate." He was also nominated for a best picture award in 1994 as one of the producers of "The Remains of the Day."

During the course of his career, which he began in the '50s when he partnered with Elaine May for a comedy act, he has also won an Emmy, a Tony and a Grammy.

Nichol's film career began with his direction of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" in 1966. His credits also include "Catch-22," "Carnal Knowledge," "Silkwood," "Working Girl," "Primary Colors," the HBO film "Angels in America," "Closer" and, most recently, "Charlie Wilson's War."