Whoopi Goldberg broke down in tears on US television yesterday as she paid tribute to her mentor, late film director Mike Nichols.
The 59-year-old fought back the tears on The View and had to be consoled by her fellow panelists just hours after news broke of Nichols’ death at the age of 83.
Whoopi credits Nichols for discovering her after he offered to take her one-woman show to Broadway. The stage production, titled The Spook Show, led to Steven Spielberg offering her a lead role in Oscar-nominated film The Color Purple.
Whoopi attempted to begin the tribute to Nichols – who was married to ABC newsreader Diane Sawyer – but was overcome with emotion forcing co-host Nicolle Wallace to take over the segment.
She said: “Whoopi has a hard time putting it into words, but this man meant the world to her.”
Rosie O’Donnell added: “Mike Nichols is the one who first saw Whoopi performing and said, ‘You got something kid.’
“He said, ‘Let’s do a show’, they put it together and he gave her the entire beginning of her career and recognised her brilliance before anyone else.”
Nicholls died from cardiac arrest on Wednesday.
He is one of an elite few who have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award.
His films include The Graduate, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Working Girl and more recently, Charlie Wilson’s War.
Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman, who starred in 2004’s Closer for Nichols, was among the stars to pay tribute.
She told E! News: “He saved me again and again. He was the best way to be a person and an artist. And the most, most fun.”
Meryl Streep, who was due to work with him on a new HBO film, added that the filmmaker was “an inspiration and joy to know, a director who cried when he laughed, a friend without whom, well, we can’t imagine our world, an indelible irreplaceable man”.
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