Remembering Groundbreaking Filmmaker Nora Ephron

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Nora Ephron wrote When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless In Seattle, Julie and Julia and many other of the most memorable romantic comedies in recent history. A prolific writer and director, she achieved tremendous success in a historically male-dominated field. Ephron died Tuesday at the age of 71.


Nora Ephron provided some of the most memorable moments in the movies: "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle," many other films and, of course, essays and stories. She suffered from leukemia and died last night in New York at the age of 71. Six years ago, she joined us to talk about her book, "I Feel Bad About My Neck," and we concluded that conversation by talking about her last chapter, "Consider the Alternative," where she wrote about regrets, and she cited Edith Piaf's celebrated song "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien."


NORA EPHRON: I think that all those people are leaving out the main thing, which is that when you get older, things are very much more complicated. And people get sick. You get sick. Your friends get sick. And you have to navigate a very, very difficult part of life. And it's not - it's not all isn't it great now that we're so wise, and we have so much free time to travel - which, by the way, you do have more time to travel and you are wiser, but, of course, you can't remember half the things you're wise about. And when you travel, your hip goes out from walking about three blocks.

But never mind that. The main thing is that there's a kind of, you know, the long shadows really are there. And I don't know why all these bright little books don't acknowledge how - what a difficult thing that is, and what a difficult thing it is to be so conscious of it and to be so conscious about how lucky we all are to still be here and still savor the things that are worth savoring, whatever you happen to think those are now that you're so much older and wiser. But you're also thinking, but I wish I didn't have spots on my hands. You are thinking all those things simultaneously.

CONAN: After all, writes Nora Ephron, most of my mistakes turned out to be things I survived or turned into funny stories, or on occasion, even made money from. But the brutal truth is that je regrette beaucoup.

EPHRON: Oui. Je regrette beaucoup, and that's about the extent of my French.

CONAN: The late Nora Ephron on this program in 2006.


EDITH PIAF: (Singing in French)

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