Mike Nichols to receive the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award [SLIDESHOW]

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The 78-year-old director of such classic films as “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” “The Graduate,” “Carnal Knowledge,” “Working Girl,” and “The Birdcage,” will receive the 38th American Film Institute Life Achievement Award later this month.

Nichols, who is married to Diane Sawyer, has had tremendous success working with the biggest names in Hollywood over the long course of his career.  How does he do it? The Los Angeles Times reports:

“You spend time together, you and the actors and the writer — God willing, the writer is alive — and the designers in different segments. You spend some weeks together to begin with just finding the answers to several questions — What is this about? And if it is about X, what is X really like in life?”

When the questions are eventually answered, “then you can either build the set or prepare the things to get the movie made. This is the thrill you never get tired of.”

In honor of the AFI’s tribute to Nichols, here is a slideshow of his greatest films.  TV Land will broadcast the 38th AFI Life Achievement Award tribute on June 26th at 9 p.m.