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Personal Reflections on Nora Ephron

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by Melissa Silverstein
June 28, 2012 10:29 AM
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I'm very shocked and sad. I would have loved to have known her. I love many of her movies and her books as well. Damn.  What is there to say?

Nicole Holofcener, director

Nora was a proper pioneer in the jungle of mainstream Hollywood, her following quote always made me laugh...so true.  “One of the best things about directing movies, as opposed to merely writing them,” she said, “is that there’s no confusion about who’s to blame: you are.”

Lynne Ramsey, director

Julie and Julia is a masterpiece so is Silkwood. Harry Met Sally, all her romantic comedies were glorious. 

I do regret that she said that thing about not wanting to help other women mostly because the press keeps printing it.  I wish they would leave that bit out because I don't think she meant for it to be just trumpeted around like that, as she was such a lover of women's stories. I don't for one second think she was saying women don't deserve a place at the table.  Her life is a full-blown testament to the vitality and universality of women's stories.

Theresa Rebeck, writer

Nora was an extraordinary force. Her intelligence made her stories and her films so singular. She didn't only write about women, she wrote about the differences between men and women, and she did this with a remarkable sense of truth. She inspires all of us to do our best by telling stories that, in the most entertaining ways possible, reflect real people and reflect real life.

Celine Rattray, producer

Words were something I never ran out of when I was with Nora Ephron and yet now, I have none to describe the loss I feel at her passing.

Jessica Capshaw, actress

I am saddened by the passing of Nora Ephron, who as a writer and director always reflected the complexity of our culture, especially women in our modern world. It was a privilege to say her words on stage in LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE.

That play's signature self-deprecating and tender tone took me a bit by surprise because the Nora I met 15 years earlier at a casual business dinner was the embodiment of confidence. Or at least that is how I translated her elegant black knit jacket, perfectly layered hair style, her pointed political views, assessment of the chef's skill and declaration that the key to her marriage was living in separate quarters. Although sly and witty, she was as serious about this as she was about her commitment to good bread

And having not yet married, I could only imagine that the advocacy for this arrangement was based on her previous "heart burn". But now as a wife, I really understand the wisdom of a room of one's own. 

And after living with her words in the form of that play, the essays and films, I recognize now that what inspired me was actually more than her self- confidence, it was her confidence in us as women, to be more honest and accepting, to embrace whom and what makes us happy, to prize sisterhood for the gift it is and to maintain our appetite for life and good stories.

As my friend said the only thing that can soothe the sting of her loss is the legacy she left and the tributes being paid in her honor.

Sharon Lawrence, actress

My mother died a month ago, and this has somehow really made it all the more hard for me - as Ephron was a type of wonderful, brilliant funny, inspiring universal Mother and artistic mentor to me - someone I never met - but someone who pushed me forward and gave me hope that a woman's individual voice could soar. I read HEARTBURN when I was 20 and it spoke to me. Not just the subject, but her breaking form and creating her own way of telling a personal tale. It feels like not only a woman and artist has died, but a zeitgeist. Its not that she will not "live on" in other women's and men's work, but it will never be her again.

Erin Cressida Wilson, writer

Vale Nora Ephron.

How sad to lose such a wonderful writer and director (and of course wife, mother,sister..)

Nora was an inspiration to so many young women film makers and writers. Nothing is more powerful than commercial success in the movie business!  And she was a mainstream success, but a success with films that were so insightful about the human condition, stories that could make you laugh and cry. They were hits that were funny and clever, romantic and humane. She demonstrated her own adage: Be the heroine, not the victim.  A friend at a script workshop recently told me they were all asked to think of three movies that you would stay up late watching even if you had a desperately important early appointment the next day.  When Harry Met Sally would definitely be one of mine.  I know because I have done just that more than once. Started watching it and had to watch again till the end.  Those funny, annoying,truthful characters and that story that Nora created will live forever.

So sad there won't be more.

Gillian Armstrong, director

I met her only once, in an elevator. Her hair was perfect and she knew how to wear a coat -- which always impresses those of us who live in Southern California.   She had heard of me, which made me feel like such hot shit. She even called me by my first name, like we were old friends, and said something I can't recall, wearily and ironic, with my name at the end of it, as if I were included in this feeling she was having.  That was Ephron's gift as a voice: she made you feel like your name was at the end of each of her observations...you were included.  "Right Allison?"  "Yes, that is exactly right, Nora".

In addition to all the wonderful writing and some films of hers which I cherish, I recently discovered some sharp, groovy pieces she wrote for Eye Magazine in the 1960s, my favorite magazine ever published.

And I don't know if it's true, but I heard she had a Wedgewood sink in her kitchen...to me, that alone set her apart from all other poets.

Allison Anders, director

As a producer of women's films, I longed to have a Nora Ephron project.... but then, who didn't!  I had to settle for being a huge fan of her work...but then, who wasn't!  I found a brand new appreciation for Nora when I listened to her reading her book "I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK" and howled with laughter.  What a great talent!  I plan to have my students study her work in my 'women's studies' class at USC this fall.... and am positive they will learn so much for this incredible role model. 

Bonnie Bruckheimer, producer

I was incredibly saddened by Nora Ephron's death. I loved her bold voice and her ability to use humor to make statements about the culture and the time she lived in. She used her gifts wisely and produced a wealth of material for us.  She made me laugh--over and over again.

Bobbie Birleffi, director

We've lost a pioneer and a gigantic talent.  So very sorry to hear this, but her work lives on.

Kasi Lemmons, director

Nora Ephron inspired me, in ways both big and small. Just knowing she was there, breaking down barriers, fearlessly sharing her humor and her humanity - made me happy. She set the bar high and higher for all of us.
I miss her already.

Beverly Kopf, director

Any woman who makes movies in the Hollywood studio system is a powerful and inspiring trailblazer. A woman like Nora who also did it with grace and humour is nothing short of amazing.

Patricia Rozema, director

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