Amongst all the bad news pouring out of so many different sources, sometimes it’s hard to be shocked by shit, but yesterday, the announcement ofÂ the death of Nora Ephron was like a slap to the face.
She was 71.
And way-beyond being female, she was just one of the coolest people in media — one of those entertaining so-called tripled threats, Ephron could write, direct and produce some good material and always had something interesting to say about a shitload of stuff.
(Illustration of Carl Bernstein and Nora Ephron found here).
According to Ephron’s family, death came via pneumonia brought on by acute myeloid leukemia.
From the New York Times on Ephron’s abilities:
But all her articles were characterized by humor and honesty, written in a clear, direct, understated style marked by an impeccable sense of when to deploy the punchline.
(Many of her articles were assembled in the collections â€œWallflower at the Orgy,â€ â€œCrazy Saladâ€ and â€œScribble Scribble.â€)
Ms. Ephron made as much fun of herself as of anyone else.
She was labeled a practitioner of the New Journalism, with its embrace of novelistic devices in the name of reaching a deeper truth, but she always denied the connection.
â€œI am not a new journalist, whatever that is,â€ she once wrote.
â€œI just sit here at the typewriter and bang away at the old forms.â€
Ephron was interesting always, even in some horrible movies — for example, the film ‘Michael’ in 1996 was horrible, but good-hearted humor always seemed to overcome bad plot holes and terrible acting, even with something like ‘You’ve Got Mail,’ a most-terrible film, but the goodness apparent on screen saved it from a total trash bin.
And, of course, she scored with some goodies, from ‘When Harry Met Sally…’ to ‘Sleepless in Seattle.’
She came across as humble, too.
This from the UK’s Guardian on flops:
I spent years wondering about all this.
Then, one day, I had lunch with the movie’s editor.
I was about to Âdirect my first movie, and I was looking for advice.
At a certain point, we got around to the flop.
He must have brought it up; I never would have.
That’s another thing about flops: you never talk about them afterward, they’re too painful.
But he assured me that nothing could have been done; the problem, he said, was the casting.
This calmed me down temporarily.
This was at least a solution to the riddle of why the movie hadn’t worked â€“ it was miscast.
So it wasn’t my fault.
What a relief.
For quite a long time I comforted myself with that theory.
Then, recently, I saw the movie again and I realised why the movie hadn’t worked.
There was nothing wrong with the cast; the problem was the script.
The script wasn’t good enough, it wasn’t funny enough, it wasn’t sharp enough.
So it was my fault after all.
She will indeed be missed.
Ironically correct, I first saw a notice on Ephron’s death at Jezebel.