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I'll Have What She's Having - Why We'll Miss Nora Ephron

Updated on September 30, 2017
Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran is a writer & former newspaper reporter/editor who traveled the world as a soldier's better half. Her works are on Amazon.


When Harry Met Sally

She was one of the three:

Nora Ephron gave us moments in movies that everyone relates to no matter who you are. These are two of the most universally known and loved. "You've Got Mail" and "Sleepless in Seattle" were other well-loved hits.

She's gone now. It will be left to the other two great women movie writers to carry on until the next generation produces someone to fill her shoes. If that ever happens . . .

I didn't know until she died that she had been married to the Bernstein of Woodward and Bernstein/Watergate fame. Explains a lot. I'd write romantic comedies after that too.

I did know that the scene-stealer in that scene from "When Harry Met Sally" was the mother of the director, Rob Reiner. It's very possible Nora didn't pen the words the woman spoke that contributes so much to the memorability of those few minutes. To me, it doesn't take away from Nora's brilliance in bringing such a human exchange to the screen. She created the moment. If Reiner put the cherry on top - good for him and good for the movie.

There will never be another Nora Ephron. But this past couple of decades have produced women writers who have given us something in the movie theater we rarely saw before around 1980: the woman's point of view. She was one of the three best, in my opinion. As Jeannine Basinger of the Wall Street Journal recently wrote, "Ephron was a 20th-century woman educated by 19th-century attitudes who defined herself in 21st-century terms."

Nancy Meyers and Susannah Grant come to mind. Nancy Meyers gave us "What Women Want" (Director) "Something's Got To Give" (a great movie with a nebulous title) "The Holiday" and more recently "It's Complicated". Susannah Grant is best known for the Academy Award-winning "Erin Brockovich" but her credits go all the way back the "Ever After", a unique look at the story of Cinderella. "Catch and Release" and "In Her Shoes" are more recent titles with her name below them.

These women all take the experiences of being female and put them into real-life settings, real-life circumstances, with real-life words spoken by the likes of Shirley McClaine, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, and Diane Keaton. Nora had more of a way with men, drawing Tom Hanks and Billy Chrystal to her movies along with first-rate leading ladies. Meg Ryan was obviously her favorite.

Nora Ephron earlier this year:
"WHAT I WON'T MISS: Dry skin, bad dinners like the one we went to last night, E-mail, technology in general, my closet, washing my hair, bras, funerals, illness everywhere, polls that show that 32% of American people believe in creationism, polls, Fox TV, the collapse of the dollar, Bar mitzvahs, mammograms, (AMEN!), dead flowers, the sound of the vacuum cleaner, bills, E-mail--I know I already said it, but I want to emphasize it, small print, panels on Women in Film, taking off makeup every night."

"WHAT I WILL MISS: my kids, Nick, spring, fall, waffles, the concept of waffles, bacon, a walk in the park, the idea of a walk in the park, the park, Shakespeare in the park, the bed, reading in bed, fireworks, laughs, the view out the window, twinkle lights, butter, dinner at home just the two of us, dinner with friends, dinner with friends in cities where none of us lives, Paris, next year in Istanbul, Pride and Prejudice, the Christmas tree, Thanksgiving dinner, one for the table, the dogwood, taking a bath, coming over the bridge to Manhattan, and pie."

Nora was 71 and by anyone's definition had a full life, a life beyond the dreams of most ordinary people. Why does it seem, just the same, as if it was over all too soon?

Terry Karkowsky Ablen contributed to this hub.

Sleepless in Seattle


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    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 4 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      To all who still miss Nora, there is a new book out about her with an interesting review in the Wall Street Journal today. "I'll Have What She's Having" by Erin Carlson - What other title would be appropriate?!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      tillsontitan: Thanks for the comments and votes. No one will come close to her talent for quite a while. Do you have a favorite movie?

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      This was an awesome tribute. The way you ended with her quotes was heartwarming and thought-provoking at the same time. A lot going on in that lady's head and heart.

      Voted up and awesome.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      rahulo324: Well said and I agree wholeheartedly. We've seen the experience of being female expressed on film during this Ephron period of time in ways it has never been done before. Here's hoping other wonderful writers will take up the torch so it continues. That would be the legacy I think she would most appreciate.

      Cyndi10: Mine too. Thanks for your comments and welcome to my hubs to the both of you!

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Nora Ephron gave us some of my favorite movies. This was so nicely done. I'm sure it's a tribute any of her fans would appreciate.

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 5 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      You see history.. there are some people who are pioneers... may it be.. Jobs on the IT front... or Shakespeare on the literature front...

      These pioneers start a revolution... some of which are eruptive while some are silent... Nora.. started a silent revolution and inspired the minds of females to venture into the art of story telling and scripting...

      I believe personally that due to this reason she is a landmark in the history of cinema for the women as we will talk in ways of " Before Nora " and " After Nora".... as we do with people like Brando...

      I loved the hub... great piece of work

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      xstatic: One of the best consequences of participating in "The Journey" is discovering the treasure trove of so many writers who are new to me. Hope to spend more time this month discovering your hubs as well. Thanks for commenting - especially another Ephron fan!

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 5 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Looks as if we were both big fans Kathleen. Great Hub!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I'm heartened to know so many people put her name with her work. Thank you for commenting.

    • Koshaugh profile image

      Kara Monterey 5 years ago from Indianapolis

      I loved Nora Ephron. Lovely hub. Thanks for sharing!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      ChristyWrites: It is heartening to know so many writers admired her work. Thanks for commenting. And welcome to my hubs.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      She really was a talented woman. Thank-you for this moving tribute.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      JayeWisdom: I'll have to look up some of her essays. I just read her book, "Heartburn" and have to say I like her screenwriting better. Thanks for the read and the comments. See you on "The Journey" !

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Kathleen -- What a lovely tribute to a talented woman, and you're right: it was over all too soon. We will miss Nora Ephron. I will think of her every time I re-read one of her essays or watch one of the movies she wrote and/or directed. They are among the few movies I can watch over and over again without being bored.


    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Couldn't decide on a definitive scene from You've Got Mail. Which one would you have picked?

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Great write up on this talented woman. Yes, the world will miss her creative writing skills and may never see films again such as the ones she wrote. Love You've Got Mail and I watch every time it's on TV. It is just such a sweet romantic tale.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Green Lotus: Welcome to my hubs. What a great choice of mentors!

    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Nora was one of my mentors. Thanks for this lovely tribute!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thanks TToombs08. Have I missed another social trend? VUMS? Is that voted up something?

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Nice review and tribute for Nora Ephron. VUMS.