Nora Ephron died today from complications from leukemia. She was 71 years old. Ephron is best known for writing and/or directing When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless and Seattle, and a guilty favorite of many a great woman, You’ve Got Mail.
Her lighter fare aside (which, come on, everyone has some affection for, even if you refuse to admit it), it took Ephron’s death for me personally to realize what an absolutely fascinating figure she was. I had no idea, for instance, that she was married to Carl Bernstein, nor that her movie, Heartburn, was based on an affair that Bernstein had with a mutual friend. I also didn’t know that the Sandra Dee character in Jimmy Stewart’s Take Her, Your Mine is based on Ephron, nor even that Ephron had been married to Goodfellas screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi for the last 20 years.
She also wrote the screenplay for Steve Martin’s My Blue Heaven, and for that alone, she should be fondly remembered. She was also a journalist (and a figure in the New Journalism movement) and after her bitter divorce with Bernstein, she apparently told anyone who asked the identity of Deep Throat. Good for her, and Bernstein can go to hell for cheating on her.
I know I should be reporting this in a more somber manner, but seriously people, what a great life. Check out her Wikipedia page. She was a remarkable woman, and hopefully this grave event will provoke others to seek some of her other work because she was clearly more than just the director of Julie and Julia and Bewitched. It’s unfortunate that it took her death for myself (and I would imagine many others) to realize it.
Rest in peace, Nora, and honestly, congratulations on a wonderful life.