In the iconic scene, Meg Ryan as Sally Albright fakes an orgasm in the middle of a deli

By Claudia Harmata
July 10, 2019 04:04 PM
Dia Dipasupil/Getty

Rob Reiner really took one for the team.

In a joint interview for PEOPLE’s When Harry Met Sally… 30th Anniversary Special Edition, the director — with actress Meg Ryan (Sally) and Billy Crystal (Harry) — discusses having to demonstrate a fake orgasm in front of his mother to show Ryan exactly what he was looking for in the famous scene of When Harry Met Sally.

The trio reveals that Ryan thought the scene would be best in “some incongruous place, like a restaurant,” though it wasn’t originally written into the script of the classic romantic comedy.

PEOPLE’s When Harry Met Sally… 30th Anniversary Special Edition is available now at Amazon and wherever magazines are sold.


“It was written as a discussion of women faking orgasm,” Ryan explains to PEOPLE. “But Sally is a behaviorally funny character, how she is is funny. So it was logical that she’d do it.”

They closed down the restaurant, Katz’s Delicatessen, to fill with extras when they went to film the iconic scene, but one was a familiar face for Reiner.

“We had the extras, the crew—a lot of people,” Reiner says. “My mother [Estelle Reiner] sitting there.”

And even though his mother was right there, Reiner still helped Ryan nail the scene by demonstrating the noises he was looking for.

“Rob kept giving me sounds, ‘More, aaauuuuhhnnnnnn!’ All in front of Estelle,” Ryan tells PEOPLE.

Reiner’s mother was actually the woman in the deli who famously said at the end of the scene, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

“Billy, he added the biggest laugh in the movie, which is the biggest laugh in any movie I’ve ever been involved with,” Reiner says. “‘I’ll have what she’s having.’ My mother says that line.”

When Harry Met Sally celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.