Nora Ephron’s Lucky Guy premiered on Broadway this week. Tom plays the lead Mike McAlary and, as you know, it’s not the first time he’s acted for Nora. We are all probably very familiar with all the other times he’s acted for Nora. Understandably then, Tom was very emotional at curtain call the other night, telling Page Six while holding back tears that:
“That was a tough moment. We were going to do this, and Nora and [show director] George C. Wolfe were going to walk out onstage. I miss her. What more can you say?”
Do you have to have known Nora Ephron to miss her?
Or can you say that you miss her because, in reading her, you did know her?
I recently re-read I Remember Nothing and doing so, as many other have noted, in the context of her passing, all of it since just seems so much more obvious. But even before that, well before that, with Wallflower At The Orgy, that was getting to know Nora too. Nora wanted us to know about her dinner parties, about how she enjoys her movies, about her “aruba”, about the time she interviewed Helen Gurley Brown, about how obsessed she was with Phil and Kay Graham (and if you’ve read Kay Graham’s personal history, you’d know she was right to be).
Gab, a good friend of mine, always says that Nora Ephron is her celebrity best friend and that she misses her all the time. And it doesn’t feel Twi-Hardy or weird when it’s Nora Ephron. Perhaps because the reasons for it (Gab also loves hosting dinner parties, cares too much about menu selection, and considers journalism her first true love) are rooted not in imagination or projection, but in who Nora really was, as shared by Nora herself, as sometimes ridiculous and unattractive and contradictory as it was.
That said, and obviously, no one misses Nora more than her family. As her son Jacob Bernstein explained recently:
"I miss my mother. And that supersedes a play that she would've written or a movie that she would've directed, all of that stuff.”
I love this quote for its honesty. Sure, be happy about her play, all of you, that’s great. But I don’t want the play. I just want her. As great as it is, and of course it is because it was written by my mother, I’d just rather have my mother, thank you very much...
Which makes me want to cry and cry because it sounds like something that might have even come from Nora herself. By the way, cry and cry and cry some more is what I did after reading Bernstein’s beautiful essay about his mother’s final days in The New York Times a few weeks ago. Like his mother, Bernstein is a wonderfully spare writer. He resists the urge to dress it up. Which is why this piece is perfect. Click here to read. And then call your mother.
I’m going to post this again because...well... it’s worth watching again.