Art Garfunkel, now 71 years old and still reeling decades later from the breakup of the musical act that made him a household name, is now saying that one of the reasons Simon & Garfunkel broke up was because of Mike Nichols’ 1970 film adaptation of Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22.” In the late 1960s, he says, the two were cast in the film, and while Garfunkel managed to hold on to his fourth-billing role, Simon ended up on the cutting room floor, reports the Guardian.
Garfunkel was speaking at the Paley Center for Media in New York last Wednesday, as part of a screening of Charles Grodin’s 1969 Simon & Garfunkel documentary “Songs of America.” According to the Hollywood Reporter, both the singer and Grodin implicated Nichols. Recall that Nichols featured Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson” and “Scarborough Fair” in “The Graduate,” his now-iconic 1967 film that won him an Oscar for best director.
“That was the beginning of their split-up,” said Grodin. “You don’t take Simon & Garfunkel and ask them to be in a movie and then drop one of their roles on them.”
Garfunkel agreed, saying, “Chuck [Grodin]‘s gone right to the heart of the difficulty in Simon & Garfunkel when he says, ‘Artie and Paul were cast for ‘Catch-22,’ and Paul’s part was dropped.’ I had Paul sort of waiting: ‘All right, I can take this for three months. I’ll write the songs, but what’s the fourth month? And why is Artie in Rome a fifth month?’” He added, “What’s Mike doing to Simon & Garfunkel?’”
“Catch-22″ was, as it happens, Garfunkel’s feature film debut — the following year he’d appear in a more prominent role, in another Mike Nichols film, “Carnal Knowledge,” starring Jack Nicholson, Candice Bergen, and Ann-Margrek,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,