Yesterday evening brought some sad news to the entertainment industry. Playwright, journalist, filmmaker, and all-around incredible human being Nora Ephron died at the age of 71. The three-time Oscar nominated screenwriter passed away in New York after a long battle with acute myeloid leukemia.
Nora Ephron was the writer of more than ten big screen movies and director of eight. Some of her best known films include When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, Michael, You’ve Got Mail, and Julie and Julia. She has published numerous essay collections; most recently were 2011’s I Remember Nothing and 2006’s I Feel Bad About my Neck. Her play, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, a collection of vignettes she adapted for the stage along with her sister, was nominated for three Drama Desk Awards in 2009. Her latest stage attempt, “Lucky Guy,” is set to begin early next year, and feature the Broadway debut of Tom Hanks.
News sources and fans alike are stressing just how much Ephron did to pave the way for women filmmakers, writers, and the female population in general. Ephron made most of her success in the primarily male dominated fields of directing and screenwriting. In both her essays and movies, Ephron dealt with the issues surrounding being a woman and often spoke openly about sex. When people think Nora Ephron, it’s not uncommon for this scene to come to mind.
Ephron explained the birth of the “I’ll have what she’s having” scene from When Harry Met Sally in an interview: (from the Washington Post)
One day, we were sitting around and Rob [Reiner] said to me, ‘You know, we’ve told you all this stuff that you didn’t know about men, now you tell us something we don’t know about women.’ It was almost like, ‘I dare you.’ And I said, ‘Well, women fake orgasms.’ And he said, ‘Not with me.’ And I said, ‘Yes, we do.’ Maybe not all the time, but sometimes. He still didn’t believe me. So we went thundering into the bullpen at Castle Rock Pictures where all the women work, and he asked them, ‘Is it true that women fake orgasms?’ And all these women nodded yes. What a shock that scene was for men. That’s my career, right there.
Never shy, never apologetic, and always brilliantly and brutally funny. Nora Ephron will be sorely missed. She is survived by survived by her husband, writer Nicholas Pileggi, and her sons Jacob and Max.