Last Monday evening, two days in advance of what would have been Mike Nichols’s 88th birthday, Graydon Carter hosted a party at Monkey Bar for Ash Carter and Sam Kashner to celebrate their new oral biography, Life Isn’t Everything: Mike Nichols, as Remembered by 150 of His Closest Friends. Nichols, who directed classics including The Graduate and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, earned more Oscar and Tony nominations than there have been American presidents. Monday’s lively affair was worthy of the book’s inimitable subject.

If you’d fought your way through the bar, you might have glimpsed Patricia Clarkson holding court on a banquette and Joan Collins descending the stairs and entering the dining room, where the scene included Fran Lebowitz, Ed Epstein, Ron Meyer, and Victor Garber. There was also plenty of reminiscing by those whose interviews are featured in the book, including Candice Bergen, Barry Diller, Peter Gallagher, Christine Baranski, Marie Brenner, Louise Grunwald, Renata Adler, and James Naughton. Nichols had many close friends, and yet more admirers, who can’t stop thinking about the man and talking about his work, even five years after his death.—Nathan King