Last night I was packing up to go home from work when I noticed a breaking news headline that Nora Ephron had passed away at 71. There was not further information, just that she was gone.
I’m not really one to get choked up about the passing of a celebrity. Shocked? Sure. Surprised? Sometimes, but never sad. The fact of the matter was that I didn’t know them personally, and their passing, however sad, had very little pull on my day to day life. Nora was different.
Through Nora Ephron’s writing, you felt like you knew her. Or even more so, that she knew you. Her leading ladies were witty, they were endearing, they were strong, they were flawed and they were real. I love Nora Ephron movies. They are a big part of why I went to film school. Her characters played a key role in my desire to write, produce, and act. I’ve spent countless hours quoting When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and the list goes on. After watching When Harry Met Sally with me years ago, my friend Ryan turned to me and said, “Oh my gosh! That’s you. You’re Sally.” And now every time we go out to dinner with him and his wife, after I’ve ordered my meal, he turns to me and quips, “On the side is a very big thing for you,” to which I reply, “I just want it the way I want it.”
A few years ago, my mom and I had the opportunity to see Nora in person at a question and answer session at the California Governor’s and First Lady’s conference for women (incidentally, I also got to meet another favorite, Maria Shriver, at that same conference). We were in the third row and it was a magical experience. I have always looked forward to every new Nora Ephron movies, books, and articles. She was like a much-admired distant relative that just “got it” and she will be greatly missed. I am sad that there will be no more Nora Ephron movies and books to look forward to, but I know that I will continue to enjoy her work for years to come.