When writer/director Nora Ephron died of leukemia on June 26, 2012, millions of fans of her witty books and movies felt that they had lost a friend. Ephron penned the short-lived 2002 Broadway play Imaginary Friends before teaming up with her sister Delia and producer Daryl Roth on the smash-hit dramedy Love, Loss and What I Wore. As her final play, Lucky Guy begins previews at the Broadhurst Theatre (starring her frequent movie collaborator Tom Hanks), Roth assembled a reunion of Love, Loss leading ladies to share their memories of collaboration and friendship. Next up in our week-long series is two-time Tony winning Annie star Katie Finneran, who had small roles in You’ve Got Mail and Bewitched before joining the original cast of Love, Loss.
“There was nobody in my professional world that I wanted to impress more than Nora. I moved to the city when I was 19, and I had read Crazy Salad and Scribble Scribble and Heartburn and felt such an affinity with her. I wanted Nora’s voice to be my voice; I wanted to be as strong as she was; I wanted to emulate everything she made me feel. I met her when I auditioned to play Tom Hanks’ girlfriend in You’ve Got Mail. I was really young, and the role was big and challenging. I didn’t get the part, but Nora liked me and cast me as a nanny. From then on, she came to see every play I did. I only wish I could have been more relaxed around her—that I was not always trying to think of a better vocabulary word or a more eloquent way of saying something. But she was always on my team, and I felt stronger for it.”
“I was obsessed with Nora’s cookbook, which only her friends got. It’s so loose and charming, and it’s a cookbook you would actually want to have in your kitchen because it makes fun of the process of cooking. She would write things like, ‘You want to take the corn and slice the kernels, but that takes too much work, so don’t do it like that.’ When I was pregnant with my first child, I made so many things from that cookbook! I said to Nora, ‘You have to publish this because it’s so much fun to read.”
Hostess With the Mostest
“One of my biggest goals in life was to get invited to dinner at Nora’s house. Right before she died, I got to go to her apartment for a book signing for Delia Ephron’s novel The Lion Is In. Nora had set up copies of the book everywhere and ordered in Chinese food. Everything in her home was just so—the walls were this creamy, glossy white, and I was excited to see the round tables, which she always said you should have [at a dinner party]. Nora seemed frail, but I never in a million years thought she was so ill. She was wearing a cream-colored sheer blouse with red polka dots and little black birds on it, and she looked like a beautiful ’40s movie star. I loved being around Nora and Delia. They did so many screenplays together, as well as Love, Loss, and they worked together very privately and intensely. I think Delia softened Nora and made her more accessible.”
For more “Celebrating Nora” memories, click here.