The New York tribute to Nora Ephron brought out everyone from Mayor Mike Bloomberg to Barry Diller (IACI) to Meryl Streep and Martha Stewart (MSO)—800 of Nora's closest friends. She plotted her "Exit," as she titled the finale of her life, down the vital details.
I was invited to Monday's event at Lincoln Center and, sadly, am in California this week. So I asked another woman in Fortune's Most Powerful Women community -- where Nora had hundreds more friends and fans -- to share a few thoughts.
The reflections below come from Susan Lyne, the Gilt Groupe chairman who met Ephron at Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn's house in the Hamptons in the late 70s and, like everyone who knew Nora, felt inspired by her. It seems appropriate to have Lyne, whose multifaceted career we told you about in Fortune last October, reflect on Ephron. While Nora started as a journalist and could have comfortably stayed there, she constantly stretched. She showed the sort of gutsiness that Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook (FB), among others, wishes more young women today possessed.
Ephron wrote her first screenplay in her 40s. She directed her first movie in her 50s. She exited a couple of decades too soon, dying at 71 of complications from acute myeloid leukemia.
So, here's one powerful woman on another. Susan Lyne on Nora Ephron:
In her 2010 book of essays, I Remember Nothing, Nora Ephron wrote: "I'd known since I was a child that I was going to live in New York eventually, and that everything in between would be just an intermission. I'd spent all those years imagining what New York was going to be like. I thought it was going to be the most exciting, magical, fraught-with-opportunity place that you could ever live; a place where if you really wanted something you might be able to get it; a place where I'd be surrounded by people I was dying to know... And I'd turned out to be right."
Yes, Nora turned out to be right. Not because all those people she was dying to know came out to say goodbye (though they did), but because she went all-in on the opportunity part.
Nora had so many successes, brilliant successes -- as a journalist, essayist, novelist, screenwriter, director, playwright -- that it's easy to forget the flops, the efforts that critics hated and audiences ignored. Nora remembered, but it never cowed her, never stopped her.
She'd move on, pick a different medium for a while, and surprise and delight us all over again.
She put herself out there -- her observations, personal history, opinions, infatuations, her takes on life and love -- over and over again. She was gifted, yes, but she was also fearless and tireless.
Most of us lose that "I can do or be anything" elation that comes with moving to the city of your dreams as a twentysomething. Nora never did.
For Nora Ephon's Best Advice, click here.
Nora Ephron, who died of leukemia on Tuesday at 71, made everyone more human.
Herself, when she felt "bad about my neck."
Her movie characters, when Harry met Sally and fell in love.
Powerful women when she interviewed a CEO (such as Julia Stewart of IHOP) or Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at the Fortune MPW Summit, probing their pasts and uncovering their souls.
Nora made business funny as she made all of us, MOREPatricia Sellers - Jun 27, 2012 8:13 AM ET
"Never put tomatoes in the refrigerator."
- No. 1 on Nora Ephron's 10-point list from Fortune's recent "Best Advice I Ever Got" cover package.
Julie and Julia, Ephron's cinematic homage to Julia Child and food lovers inspired by her, opens today. (I'm seeing the movie tomorrow.)
Nora knows food, and if you want more of her tart but savory wit, check out her "Pancake Breakfast"interview with IHOP (DIN) CEO Julia Stewart at the 2007 MOREPatricia Sellers - Aug 7, 2009 4:35 PM ET
If you read only the on-line version of Fortune's "Best Advice I Ever Got"--our recent cover package that's on newsstands until Monday--you missed Nora Ephron. You know her quirky, intelligent wit from her best-selling books and movies like When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle. Here's "My Two Cents"--10 Best Advice tips, actually--from the director, screenwriter and novelist whom I've long admired and come to know:
Never put tomatoes in the MOREPatricia Sellers - Jul 10, 2009 1:31 PM ET
"It's sort of the silver lining of things not being quite fair: It's not as big a deal if you say, 'I'm going to take a salary cut and see if I can be something else. A night-club singer.'"
Nora Ephron, talking about women, in "Nora Knows What To Do" in the current issue of The New Yorker. After reading this profile and hearing the Sarah Palin news, Ephron's quote haunted MOREPatricia Sellers - Jul 6, 2009 6:46 PM ET
"I'm a guy who doesn't see anything good having come from the Internet."
Have you seen this quote floating around the web? Michael Lynton, who co-heads Sony's (SNE) movie business with Amy Pascal, said it yesterday morning during a panel discussion sposored by Syracuse U's Newhouse School and the New Yorker. I was there, and I have to say, it was one of the most lively discussions I've seen in this series of MOREPatricia Sellers - May 15, 2009 3:57 PM ET
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