I was really sad to read last night that Nora Ephron died at the age of 71. She'd been battling leukemia for six years and, ultimately, cancer won and the director of Sleepless In Seattle and the writer of When Harry Met Sally is gone. Rest in peace, Nora; you left behind a legacy of wonderful work. I know that I still stop to watch Sleepless every time I see it on TV, even though I have the DVD and can watch it whenever I want to. Barbra never worked with Nora, but they did have at least one public connection.
In 1968, Nora did an interview with Barbra for Good Housekeeping. You can read a copy at Barbra-Archives.com. It's a terrific piece, a great look at Barbra at that time. Nora wrote that when she went to Barbra's home in Beverly Hills, a rental at the time, she expected a kooky Barbra, the girl that the press had depicted as a crazy kook. What Nora found was a nice Jewish girl, raising her two-year-old son. They talked about… "such zany things as motherhood. And Dresden china. And dieting. And the price of cooperative apartments in New York."
Long before I appreciated Nora for her films, I admired that interview with Barbra. She got Barbra and presented her as a real person. I think Nora realized that Barbra was a lot like her, only with this super talent that we all are in awe of.
In 2010, Nora offered this very sage advice about growing older. I hope we all learn from these words: "You do get to a certain point in life where you have to realistically, I think, understand that the days are getting shorter, and you can't put things off thinking you'll get to them someday. If you really want to do them, you better do them. There are simply too many people getting sick, and sooner or later you will. So I'm very much a believer in knowing what it is that you love doing so you can do a great deal of it."