Mike Nichols is to Simon & Garfunkel as Yoko Ono is to The Beatles.
Art Garfunkel revealed at a recent panel discussion in New York that when the film director hired the duo to act in his 1970 film version of Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22,” — but then dropped Simon from the project — he did the partnership in.
“I had Paul sort of waiting: ‘All right, I can take this for three months. I’ll write the songs, but what’s the fourth month? And why is Artie in Rome [the filming location] a fifth month?’ What’s Mike doing to Simon & Garfunkel?’” Garfunkel recalled Simon’s take on the situation at the time.
Garfunkel spoke at an event following a special screening of his and Simon’s controversial 1969 documentary “Songs of America” on February 6 at New York’s Paley Center for Media.
Riding to the rescue is the American Film Institute, which will present Nichols with its 38th AFI Life Achievement Award today. Nichols will thereby be placed alongside great directors like John Ford, William Wyler and Billy Wilder.
In recent years actors like Kirk Douglas, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand and Michael Douglas have received the same award, and if no Ford, Wyler, or Wilder, Nichols has proven himself to be a masterful combination of performer and director.