And here’s to you, Mr. Nichols…

Yesterdays  forecast hint at a chance of  rain.  A rain of tears in the passing of Mike Nichols –  the husband, father, friend, colleague and Director that leaves behind a graduate as well.

Not just any graduate.  The Graduate.

Based on the novel by Charles Web, the 1967 iconic film, The Graduate,  swept the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director (Mike Nichols), Best Actor (Dustin Hoffman) and Best Actress (Anne Bancroft).

The Graduate.  It sounds so important, so official.  Disciplined. Confident.

So who better than Dustin Hoffman to play the role of the most insecure college graduate to ever walk off a campus?

Screenwriters Buck Henry and Calder Willingham penned it so well.  “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me.”  As college grad Benjamin Braddock  wonders aloud if the sophisticated Mrs. Robinson  would even entertain such a notion.   Seduce her daughter’s boyfriend?  A young man half her age?   Benjamin?Benjamin Graduate

Back then, actor Warren Beatty would have easily nabbed the 1967 ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ cover.  But this?   This was Dustin Hoffman.

Ironically, that same year, The Graduate was up for Best Picture against two of the sexiest, ruthless  outlaws in the biographical film, Bonnie and Clyde.   Bonnie (Faye Dunaway) and Clyde (Warren Beatty) both got Oscar nominations for their lead roles in the Oscar nominated film as well.

So why can’t I stop smiling?

Because with Mike Nichols, the Director, we could expect the unexpected.

In reality,  Dustin Hoffman was 30 years old when the film debuted.   Anne Bancroft was only seven years older.  But her suburban aura and his naivety onscreen were toxic; yet painfully funny.  And of course, Simon and Garfunkel’s lyrics and music underscored the roller coaster of emotions that Mike Nichols captured for audiences.

Worldwide.  For decades.

In the end, even Bonnie and Clyde were no match for Mike Nichols’s graduate.