Writer, essayist, filmmaker, literary Renaissance woman and Meg Ryan immortalizer Nora Ephron passed away today at the age of 71 due to complications from the blood disorder myelodysplasia. Although she is perhaps best known for writing the screenplays to romantic comedies like When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless In Seattle, she wrote a slew of films, directed and produced others, started her own satirical newspaper and wrote insightful, funny columns for a number of the nation's top magazines. Even right before her passing, Ephron was still developing new projects, most notably a biopic of Peggy Lee, for which she wrote the screenplay and was slated to direct, says Variety.
Ephron's career spans decades, types of media and includes more minutes of celluloid, beautiful words and bits of wisdom than one could possibly hope to sum up in one blog post, so tonight, in her honor, a few gems, including the headline, which is from Ephron's six-word autobiography via Smith Magazine.
Esquire has the entirety of Ephron's 1972 column, "A Few Words About Breasts," up on their website in tribute. You should probably go read the whole thing.
Long before the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan rom-coms, there was Silkwood, Ephron's debut as a screenwriter, a riveting and critically lauded drama depicting the story of Karen Silkwood, an employee at a plutonium plant who began investigating when things went afoul. The cast was a group of heavy-hitters (Meryl! Cher!), the story compelling, and the ripped-from-the-headlines aspect, so often a hit or miss affair, a hit this time around.
Sleepless in Seattle is one of those fun, goofy movies that people love to watch when they're sick or hung over or just need a day. It's easy to focus on the love story, but what's especially great about Sleepless are the friendships—the one between Jonah and Becky (with all her abbrevs), between Meg Ryan and Rosie O'Donnell and this scene, where even when the crying gets a little ridiculous, it feels like you're watching your own friends, sitting around a kitchen table, making fun of each other's taste in/reaction to movies.
From her fantastically-titled book of essays, I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts On Being A Woman:
“Whenever you give up an apartment in New York and move to another city, New York turns into the worst version of itself. Someone I know once wisely said that the expression "It's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there" is completely wrong where New York is concerned; the opposite is true. New York is a very livable city. But when you move away and become a visitor, the city seems to turn against you. It's much more expensive (because you need to eat all your meals out and pay for a place to sleep) and much more unfriendly. Things change in New York; things change all the time. You don't mind this when you live here; when you live here, it's part of the caffeinated romance to this city that never sleeps. But when you move away, your experience change as a betrayal. You walk up Third Avenue planning to buy a brownie at a bakery you've always been loyal to, and the bakery's gone. Your dry cleaner move to Florida; your dentist retires; the lady who made the pies on West Fourth Street vanishes; the maitre d' at P.J. Clarke's quits, and you realize you're going to have to start from scratch tipping your way into the heart of the cold, chic young woman now at the down. You've turned your back from only a moment, and suddenly everything's different. You were an insider, a native, a subway traveler, a purveyor of inside tips into the good stuff, and now you're just another frequent flyer, stuck in a taxi on Grand Central Parkway as you wing in and out of La Guardia. Meanwhile, you rad that Manhattan rents are going up, they're climbing higher, they're reached the stratosphere. It seems that the moment you left town, they put a wall around the place, and you will never manage to vault over it and get back into the city again.”
And last, but certainly not least.