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Mike Nichols biography claims Oscar-winning director’s 1986 heart attack brought on by drug abuse

Mike Nichols biography claims Oscar-winning director said his 1986 heart attack was brought on by abuse of cocaine and crack

A new book about late filmmaker Mike Nichols claims the heart attack Nichols suffered in 1986 was due to the director’s abuse of multiple drugs, including crack.

In author Mark Harris’s Mike Nichols: A Life, Harris said the Oscar-winning director of The Graduate ‘had been using cocaine regularly for some time and had been known to use crack, too,’ according to a passage New York Magazine published.

The book claimed cocaine had a ‘ubiquitous’ presence among Nichols’ friends at the time, and that the director of films such as Postcards from the Edge, The Birdcage and had Regarding Henry ‘later said his drug use had contributed to his heart attack.’

The latest: A new book about late filmmaker Mike Nichols claims the heart attack Nichols suffered in 1986 was due to the director’s abuse of multiple drugs, including crack. He was snapped in 2008 in London

Following the heart attack, doctors treating the director for sleeping and anxiety issues prescribed Halcion, a drug which has reported side effects including paranoia and suicidal thoughts.

The medication led to more issues for the Berlin-born director, Harris said in the book, noting that at one point he asked a pal for a $25 million loan amid delusions he was financially bankrupt.

Nichols’ friend Carly Simon spurred him on to treatment at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital’s psychiatric unit in New York City, where the director came down from the drug, as his symptoms of delusion vanished.

The late director died at 83 November 19, 2014 from a heart attack.

Classic: Nichols was in the director's chair for 1996's The Birdcage, while starred the late Robin Williams, Hank Azaria and Nathan Lane

Classic: Nichols was in the director’s chair for 1996’s The Birdcage, while starred the late Robin Williams, Hank Azaria and Nathan Lane

Hollywood royalty: Nichols was snapped with Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep

Hollywood royalty: Nichols was snapped with Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep

The book has drawn accolades from critics, as well as many of Nichols’ former peers in show business, according to publisher Penguin Press.

‘The book is as smart and well-paced as if Mike had directed it,’ Tina Fey said. It’s Virginia Woolf brutal and Birdcage funny. I devoured the details of Mike’s fascinating life, but I also marveled at Mark Harris’s ability to lead us through it.

‘The shaky wooden rollercoaster of collaboration, the serpent-tongued antihero’s path to love, an artist’s guide to not being trash, ten pounds of movie stars in a five pound bag – this book has it all!’

Steven Spielberg said, ‘Mike was a great director, and Mark Harris has produced a clear-eyed, honest, enormously entertaining, deeply moving and thought-provoking account of what a director’s life is like and of what being a director means.

‘His particular gifts, demonstrated in each book he writes, of combining objectivity with empathy and seriousness with delight are precisely what make him Mike Nichols’s ideal biographer. I can’t think of any praise higher than to say that this book is worthy of its subject.’

Mike Nichols: A Life Hardcover is set for release February 2.

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