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 Ephron’s 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 Tony winner Tyne Daly, a Love, Loss original cast member who offers her take on why Ephron chose not to reveal the illness that claimed her life.
“I can’t think of Nora without Delia because they were in sister mode when we did [Love, Loss and What I Wore]. The whole thing started downtown at Daryl Roth’s theater to raise money for Dress for Success, and then it snowballed. Anyway, I have sisters, and I appreciate sisters; it’s supposed to be the most bonding of human relationships, and I loved the way Nora and Delia whispered together and conferred with each other. I've done the show a couple of times, and even though it is monologues, the feeling in the companies has always been one of sisterliness. That was a direct translation from the two of them.”
Finding the Funny
“I have some precepts for my work that I’ve gotten from people who are wiser and more talented than myself, and one of Nora’s is in my top five. After Nora called me about the show, I went to lunch with her and Delia, and we talked a lot about our childhoods with show business parents, the saving grace of sisters and how I would play Gingy [the character based on Love, Loss author Ilene Beckerman]. How should I wear my hair? Nora said, “Curly. Curly hair is funnier. It’s like a law.” She was wicked smart, and I love to be with people who are smart and elegant and funny.”
“I experienced Nora as being very private in the best way. I thought she handled [her illness] beautifully. I have other friends who decided to make their exit like that—to keep their own counsel about being ill. We live in a time when everything is on display, and the fact that she kept that last personal thing to herself was very moving to me. When I saw her picture in the paper and realized it was an obituary, I thought, ‘Maybe I should have been more insightful.’ But in a wonderfully old-fashioned way, it wasn’t anybody’s business. She used her life as fodder in her writing, but there was a part that she kept just for Nora, and I thought that was extraordinary.”
For more “Celebrating Nora” memories, click here.