Nora Ephron’s impact on the world of film — particularly romantic comedies, thanks to her memorable scripts for big-screen classics “When Harry Met Sally …” and “Sleepless in Seattle” — was felt in the wake of the news that the screenwriter, journalist and director passed away on Tuesday at the age of 71 from pneumonia.
Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, who both appeared in “Sleepless in Seattle” (Hanks also later appeared in Ephron’s “You’ve Got Mail”), recalled the times they spent with her when the cameras weren’t rolling. “Nora Ephron was a journalist/artist who knew what was important to know; how things really worked, what was worthwhile, who was fascinating and why,” Hanks and Wilson said in a statement to E! News. “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. 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.”
Comedian and 2012 Academy Awards host Billy Crystal recalled the joy of appearing in “When Harry Met Sally …” in his remembrance of the multi-hyphenate talent. “I am very sad to learn of Nora’s passing,” he said in a statement. “She was a brilliant writer and humorist. Being her Harry to Meg’s Sally will always have a special place in my heart. I was very lucky to get to say her words.”
Carrie Fisher, who appeared alongside Crystal in the iconic film, said in a statement to the Boston Globe, “In a world where we’re told that you can’t have it all, Nora consistently proved that adage wrong. A writer, director, wife, mother, chef, wit — there didn’t seem to be anything she couldn’t do. And not just do it, but excel at it, revolutionize it, set the bar for every other screenwriter, novelist, director. She was inspiring, intimidating and insightful. She was so, so alive. It makes no sense to me that she isn’t anymore. My heart goes out to her family and the many others who treasured her.”
The outpouring of love for Ephron hardly ended there. Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep, who starred in two Ephron classics, “Heartburn” and 2009’s “Julie & Julia,” noted that her interests and intellect touched on all subject matters.
“Nora just looked at every situation and cocked her head and thought, ’Hmmmm, how can I make this more fun?’ ” Streep said. “You could call on her for anything: doctors, restaurants, recipes, speeches or just a few jokes, and we all did it, constantly. She was an expert in all the departments of living well.”
Nicole Kidman, who starred in Ephron’s quirky big-screen take on the classic 1960s sitcom “Bewitched,” noted that it was a “joy to be around” the writer. “She was so smart, warm and funny. 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,” Kidman said.
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