A true trailblazer, Nora Ephron leaves behind a legacy of always knowing the right (and wittiest) thing to say. She was “an expert in all the departments of living well,” according to Meryl Streep – one of many paying tribute to the late author-journalist-screenwriter-director, who died Tuesday at 71.
“You could call on her for anything: doctors, restaurants, recipes, speeches, or just a few jokes, and we all did it, constantly,” Streep – who was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her role as Julia Child in Ephron’s Julie & Julia (2009) – wrote in an email to The New York Times. “Nora just looked at every situation and cocked her head and thought, Hmmmm, how can I make this more fun?'”
Streep wasn’t the only celebrity to remember Ephron fondly.
The filmmaker’s Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and You’ve Got Mail (1998) star, Tom Hanks, said he and wife Rita Wilson were devastated by her death.
“At a dinner table and on a film set she lifted us all with wisdom and wit mixed with love for us and love for life,” Hanks said in a statement. “Rita and I are so very sad to lose our friend who brought so much joy to all who were lucky enough to know her.”
Billy Crystal, who costarred with Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally (1989, and which Ephron wrote and Rob Reiner directed), called Ephron a “brilliant writer and humorist.”
“Being her Harry to Meg’s Sally will always have a special place in my heart,” Crystal wrote in a statement to the Huffington Post, to which Ephron was a contributing editor. “I was very lucky to get to say her words. ”
Nicole Kidman, who collaborated with Ephron on Bewitched (2005), told the Huffington Post: I am so grateful that she was my friend and we had the opportunity to work together. My thoughts and love are with her family at this time. I will never forget the dinners, games and laughter we all shared.
Steve Martin Tweeted: “She was the one you wanted to read, to listen to, to be in the company of. Nora Ephron. Incomparable wit; delightful friend. Sadness reigns.”
Mike Nichols, who directed Heartburn (1986, based on Ephron’s thinly disguised autobiographical memoir), in a statement, called Ephron “absolutely irreplaceable.”
Even those with no direct professional connection to Ephron were affected by her death.
“R.I.P. Nora Ephron… Funny, charming, witty, full of heart, and one of the greatest who put it all down in timeless, quotable classics,” Justin Timberlake Tweeted, while his fiancée, Jessica Biel, separately Tweeted: ” Nora Ephron…thank you for your ground breaking contributions for women in the film industry. You have truly paved the way. With respect…”
Tell us what you think: Among those movies Nora Ephron either wrote or directed (or did both), which was your favorite?
Remembering Nora Ephron: 5 Iconic Scenes