Did you ever use the phrase “I’ll have what she’s having?” I know I have and I haven’t even see all of the 1989 film When Harry Met Sally. But, I have certainly seen the famous scene over and over in clips through the years.
Well, if you’ve ever used that phrase, you have Nora Ephron to thank for it. Ephron, an author, director, producer, filmmaker, novelist, and screenwriter, died this week from pneumonia brought on by acute myeloid leukemia. She was 71.
Ephon because her career as a reporter for the New York Post, but also wrote for Esquire, Post, and New York.
Her first husband, Dan Greenburg, was also an author, screenwriter, journalist, and playwright, but it would be second husband, Carl Bernstein, that would give Ephron her start in screen writing.
Bernstein and partner Bob Woodward blew the lid off the Watergate scandal in the ‘70s with their book “All the President’s Men.” The script for the film was written by William Goldman, but Bernstein and Woodward weren’t happy with it, so Ephron and Bernstein ended up rewriting it.
In the end, the original script was used for the film, but Ephron had been bitten by the screenwriting bug.
Her next film is one of my favorites – Silkwood, starring Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell, and Cher. Next would be Heartburn, starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson then Cookie, starring Peter Falk and Dianne Wiest.
It would be the writing of When Harry Met Sally that would seal Ephron’s fate as a romantic comedy writer. On her passing, Billy Crystal said, “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.” Meg Ryan said, “Nora was an era. We pictured ourselves inside her dreams and they became ours.”
Ephron would go on to write Sleepless in Seattle, which starred Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, Michael which starred John Travolta, and You’ve Got Mail, which teamed up Hanks and Ryan again.
Her last film was Julie and Julia in which she once again teamed up with Meryl Streep.