Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Remembering Nora Ephron 1941 - 2012
The filmmaker, director, producer, screenwriter, novelist, playwright, journalist, author and blogger died earlier today at age 71. She wrote and directed many films, including This Is My Life (1992), Sleepless in Seattle (1993) - for which she received an Academy Award nomination for her screenplay, Mixed Nuts (1994), Michael (1996), You've Got Mail (1998), Bewitched (2005) and Julie & Julia (2009).
Ephron also wrote the Academy Award-nominated screenplays for Silkwood (1983) and When Harry Met Sally... (1989) as well as the 2002 Broadway play, Imaginary Friends, which starred Swoosie Kurtz and Cherry Jones as writers Lillian Hellman and Mary McCarthy.
I also must mention four of my favorite things about Ms. Ephron:
Her parents, Henry and Phoebe Ephron, who wrote the screenplays for There's No Business Like Show Business (1954), Carousel (1956) and Desk Set (1957), based the character of a college-age daughter on Nora in their 1961 Broadway play, Take Her, She's Mine. Elizabeth Ashley won a Tony Award for her performance, and Sandra Dee later played the role in the 1963 film version.
I love Ephron's passionate 1976 essay on the television series, Upstairs, Downstairs, which can be found in her 1978 book, Scribble Scribble: Notes on the Media.
I remember enjoying Perfect Gentlemen, a 1978 TV movie that she wrote starring three of my favorite actresses - Lauren Bacall, Ruth Gordon and Sandy Dennis
And, finally, I adore the 1986 film, Heartburn, directed by Mike Nichols and written by Ephron. She based it on her 1983 semi-autobiographical novel, which was inspired by her second marriage (and divorce) to journalist Carl Bernstein. The movie's excellent cast includes Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Stockard Channing, Jeff Daniels, Catherine O'Hara, Maureen Stapleton, Mercedes Ruehl, Karen Akers and Kevin Spacey (in his film debut).
Below you can enjoy Ephron's hilarious speech during the 32nd AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute To Meryl Streep in 2004.