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November 9 2019
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Mike Nichols, photographed by his friend Richard Avedon, 1978.

ROBBIE LANTZ (agent): Saint [Subber, the producer] called and said, “I have a play by Neil Simon,” who had only written Come Blow Your Horn. He said, “Help me find a director. There are no comedy directors.” I read the play, which was called Nobody Loves Me. I believe to this day, Doc [Simon] starts all his plays calling them Nobody Loves Me. I read the play, and I said, “I think you should talk to Mike Nichols.” I said, “I think that would pull Mike back to life.”

My best recollection is he did read it. How quickly, I can’t remember. And then he said, “Yes, this is funny. I could do that, I guess. If I can direct at all.” And I said, “Well, you should go and direct somewhere. I’ll set it up for you. Go to Canada, do two plays. The important thing is you must pick plays you can’t trifle with.” He did Saint Joan and, I think, a Wilde. Every night at midnight he called and said, “Get me out of this. I don’t want to do this.” I said, “This is precisely what the doctor ordered.” He hated me, I think. But he did stick it out. And of course he realized all the practicalities because he’s so quick—what the problems are, and so on. I did not get the courage to go see those productions.

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