I was pained to read today that Nora Ephron had died due to complications of leukemia. She was 71. If you don’t quite recognize the name, she wrote a bunch of films, including “Silkwood,” “When Harry Met Sally,” and a personal favorite of mine , “My Blue Heaven,” starring Steve Martin and Rick Moranis. She wrote and directed “Sleepless in Seattle,” “You’ve Got Mail,” and “Julie and Julia.”
But Ephron was far more than her movies. She was a journalist, essayist and novelist who examined modern American life with wit and insight. In recalling her days at the White House in the 1960’s, she speculated that she was the only intern John Kennedy never hit on.
Nora Ephron and I spent an hour together in 2006, when I was filling in as host for Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane, and Ephron had just published a new collection of essays about the challenges of getting older, called I Feel Bad About my Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman.
When I listened to the interview today after seven years, it struck me how much more talking I did with her than almost any recorded interview I can think of. Looking back on it, I think that’s because she was so personally warm and engaging that I found it hard not to respond to her every thought.
She commented on various things she’d observed about me, and I found myself explaining that I’d had to keep a beard because without it, I looked very much like a particular Philadelphia City Councilman.
You can listen to an excerpt of our conversation about her book and the trials of aging by playing the audio above. You can hear a slightly different excerpt on today’s edition of Fresh Air.