NYWIFT Remembers Groundbreaking Filmmaker Nora Ephron
|Ephron at NYWIFT's Conversation With Nora Ephron in 2009|
June 28, 2012
Nora Ephron, director, producer and Oscar-nominated writer of Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, died in a New York hospital on Tuesday of complications from leukemia. She was 71.
She began her career in journalism, writing for The New York Post and Esquire. While married to Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein, the couple rewrote the script for All the President’s Men. Though their version never made it to the big screen, it did lead to Ephron's career in screenwriting. She received Oscar nominations for writing Silkwood with Alice Arlen, starring Meryl Streep; the rom-com hit When Harry Met Sally; and Sleepless in Seattle, an honor she shared with David S. Ward and Jeff Arch.
In 1992, New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) honored Nora Ephron at its annual Muse Awards, celebrating the vision and achievements of women who work in the entertainment industry.
“Nora is a hero to so many women who are struggling to express themselves as film directors. She raised the glass ceiling, proving that women could make wonderful movies—about women—that had huge audiences. She leaves a space that can't be filled," said NYWIFT’s Executive Director Terry Lawler.
Ephron made her directorial debut at age 50 with This Is My Life, which she recently discussed with director and Girls creator Lena Dunham. She went on to direct seven more films, including Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and most recently, the critically acclaimed Julie & Julia.
In 1998, Ephron spoke with NYWIFT about why she began directing. “It’s the best way I know to protect my writing,” she said. After watching a script be “misdirected,” she was convinced. “I thought, ‘I could’ve screwed that up as well as he did, so why am I not making the money to do this?’” said Ephron.
The infamous “Silkwood shower,” the pie-in-the-face scene in Heartburn, “I’ll have what she’s having” from When Harry Met Sally—Ephron created some of the most memorable and quotable moments at the movies.
“Movies are the literature of this generation, and all subsequent generations,” Ephron told Bonnie Rothman Morris during the 1998 NYWIFT interview. “It’s exciting to know that if you make a movie that in some way works, you’re going to reach people, to become part of their autobiography.”
She did just that, shaping who we are—how we talk, fall in love, deal with loss, grow older—and for that, and so much more, we are grateful.
Seeing Nora Ephron by Lena Dunham (The New Yorker)
Writer-director Nora Ephron dies at 71 (Variety)
Ephron: From 'Silkwood' To 'Sally,' A Singular Voice (NPR)
Nora Ephron Dies at 71 (Women and Hollywood)
Nora Ephron: A Life of Voice and Detail by Tom Hanks (Time Entertainment)
Writer and Filmmaker With a Genius for Humor (New York Times)
Nora Ephron, prolific author and screenwriter, dies at age 71 (Washington Post)
Nora Ephron dies at 71; writer of sharp-edged romances (Los Angeles Times)
A Conversation With Nora Ephron (NYWIFT, 1998)
Last updated: Jul. 2, 2012