Elaine May arrived on the comedy scene in the ‘50s, performing improvisational comedy routines with Mike Nichols. Over 50 years later, May will direct an American Masters documentary in tribute to her former comedy partner to launch the 30th anniversary of the series on PBS.
The documentary will feature A-list commentary from celebrities including Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Alec Baldwin, Paul Simon, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane and more.
Nichols’ acclaimed works earned him an Oscar, four Emmys, nine Tonys and three BAFTAs throughout his 50-year career. He’s known for directing The Graduate, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Catch 22, Silkwood, Biloxi Blues, Working Girl, Angels In America and Charlie Wilson’s War and plays Barefoot in the Park, Luv and The Odd Couple. Nichols also won a Grammy with May for the first of three comedy albums they recorded together as Nichols & May.
Julian Schlossberg conducted the celebrity interviews for the documentary which includes an exclusive interview with Nichols before he died on Nov. 19, 2014. May previously directed Ishtar (1987) and The Heartbreak Kid (1972).
“Elaine and Julian can joke about each other because they’ve known each other 40 years, and their work together has been so successful. What seems to unite them in both humor and friendship is a deep love and respect for Mike Nichols and his legacy,” said American Masters executive producer Michael Kantor in a statement.
Previous subjects for American Masters (Thirteen Productions) have included Norman Lear, August Wilson and Bing Crosby. American Masters: Mike Nichols will premiere Jan. 29, 2016 on PBS.