POSTED June 26 2012

Nora Ephron: 1941-2012

Nora Ephron, like butter

Nora Ephron was a throwback to wits such as Anita Loos and Dorothy Parker while being thoroughly modern. As a screenwriter and essayist, she was a highly-sensitive cultural barometer who could with great accuracy (and great amusement) measure the subtlest changes in the atmosphere. My favorite films of hers are not her hits: This is My Life (her directorial debut) and Hanging Up (written with sister Delia and directed by Diane Keaton). I loved her essay collections Wallflower at the Orgy and I Feel Bad About My Neck.

Here’s the obituary I wrote, faster than the speed of grief.

She contributed so many great lines. Top-of-head, these are some favorites.

“When your children are teenagers it’s important to have a dog so someone in the house is happy to see you when you get home.” — from I Feel Bad About My Neck

“If your kid has a choice, mom having ecstatic time in Hawaii or mom in next room on the verge of suicide, they’ll take verge of suicide in next room every time. What’s important for your kid isn’t happiness, but proximity.” — Julie Kavner, This is My Life

“Harry, you have to find a way of not expressing every feeling you have, every moment you have them.” — Meg Ryan, When Harry Met Sally…

“There are two kinds of women: high-maintenance and low-maintenance. You’re the worst kind, hugh-maintenance who thinks she’s low-maintenance” — Billy Crystal, When Harry Met Sally…

“You are the butter to my bread…the breath to my life” — Stanley Tucci to Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

“She makes coffee nervous” — Tom Hanks (of Parker Posey), You’ve Got Mail

“What we think of as fate is just two neuroses knowing that they are a perfect match.” — David Hyde-Pierce, Sleepless in Seattle

“I was raised Jewish, but my religion is butter.” — provenance unremembered

Your favorite pinch of Ephron?








  1. Debbie R says:

    Wow, I did not even know she had been sick until I got your post. Thanks.

    As for her best line, you already named it: “I’ll have some of that,” spoken after Meg Ryan’s character’s orgasm in the coffee shop. It’s one of the Great Lines in cinema history. And it wouldn’t have been uttered until feminism 1) opened the subject, and 2) made a bit more room for women writers in Hollywood.

  2. Miz Val says:

    From my favorite Nora Ephron movie

    Julie Powell: I have to murder and dismember a crustacean ( From Julie and Julia)

    There are others great lines from that movie but they are not fit to print.I was stunned to hear about her death as well.My prayes go out to her family

  3. wwolfe says:

    Off the top of my head, I thought of the lovely moment in Julie and Julia when sisters Meryl Streep and Jane Lynch hold hands while dancing with their respective mates. I don’t know if that was in the script, but I hope so, because it was a sweet grace note.

  4. vc says:

    Never let them know.

    (from “Things I Wish I’d Known”)

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