Al Pacino has worked with some truly great directors — Francis Ford Coppola, Oliver Stone, Steven Soderbergh, and Sidney Lumet, to name a few — but the greatest of them all, he says, is the late Mike Nichols, who died on Wednesday, Nov. 19, at age 83. Us Weekly caught up with the actor at New York City’s 21 Club, where he attended a Peggy Siegal luncheon to promote his movie The Humbling just hours after news broke of Nichols’ death.
The Godfather star, 74, worked with the late EGOT winner back in 2003, on the HBO miniseries Angels in America. Both won Emmys for the project — Pacino for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie, and Nichols for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie, or a Dramatic Special.
Asked about Nichols’ sudden passing, Pacino told Us, “Oh, man. It just knocked me out. I’m not over the shock yet. Not that I ever will be. The shock of it is so much, it’s hard to talk about it right now. It’s hard to believe.”
He went on the praise the legendary director, whose career included classic films like The Graduate and Working Girl, as well as a Grammy-winning comedy album and several Tony-winning Broadway productions. (Nichols won nine Tonys in all, for Barefoot in the Park, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, and Spamalot, among other shows.)
“I loved him so,” Pacino told Us of the late star, who is survived by his wife Diane Sawyer, his three children, and his four grandchildren. “He was my friend, and he was the greatest director I ever worked with. He was.”