Famed screenwriter and essayist Nora Ephron died last night after a battle with cancer. She was 71.
Her personal essays were self-depreciating, funny and often brave. The movies she wrote — most famously When Harry Met Sally, Silkwood, You’ve Got Mail, Heartburn, Julie & Julia and Sleepless in Seattle — were smart enough to garner critical acclaim and award nominations while still appealing to the masses, an uncommon talent in Hollywood. (I never thought she got enough credit for being a bit of a visionary with You’ve Got Mail. After all, it was a movie about finding love on the internet long before Craigslist, Match.com, etc. came along.) Her story about witnessing Steve Wynn destroy a $139 million Picasso painting is one of my favorite stories I’ve ever come across. As Dustin pointed out at Pajiba, her Wikipedia page reveals that she led one of the more fascinating lives any person could possibly live.
Rarely does a “celebrity” death hit me as hard as this one has. Ephron was one of my heroes. At one point a few years ago I resolved to do everything I could to befriend her — at least to let her know how great I thought she was. I never followed through on that beyond hanging around occasionally in a Starbucks on the Upper West Side I’d heard she frequented in the hopes of meeting her while in line for a latte — and I suppose I’ll probably regret it forever.
The last part of her New York Times obituary reads like this…
Ms. Ephron’s collection “I Remember Nothing” concludes with two lists, one of things she says she won’t miss and one of things she will. Among the “won’t miss” items are dry skin, Clarence Thomas, the sound of the vacuum cleaner, and panels on “Women in Film.” The other list, of the things she will miss, begins with “my kids” and “Nick” and ends this way:
“Taking a bath
Coming over the bridge to Manhattan
Here she is discussing how getting old sucks on Charlie Rose in 2010. Talking about the idea of having a last meal before death, she said, “It’s very important to eat your last meal before it comes up.”
Thanks for the memories and the inspiration, Nora. I am profoundly sad that you are no longer with us.
(Pic via Charlie Rose)