Nora Ephron’s Words Leave Us Laughing…and Crying…and Forever Wondering What She Might Have Written Next….

Legendary writer and filmmaker, Nora Ephron, leaves many anecdotes, quotes and lessons in the wake of her death from leukemia Tuesday at the age of 71.  We consider her a sister among us Domestic Square Pegs.

My mother was a good recreational cook, but what she basically believed about cooking was that if you worked hard and prospered, someone else would do it for you.


An inspired and intuitive baby boomer, Ephron was also a journalist, author and playwright. She directed and produced some of the most iconic American romantic comedies of the late 20th century. She wrote some of my very favorite (and yours too, no doubt) films of all time such as: When Harry Met Sally (on our top 5 list) Sleepless in Seattle and the autobiographical film, Heartburn, starring Meryl Streep.  Nora Ephron always wrote about strong female characters…and strong women cherished roles written by Ephron.

I spent my young adult years enjoying Nora Ephron’s insightful and ironic humor, language and stories on the big screen.  And for her words, I am forever grateful.  A self-confessed non-domestic, she reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously.  But some things in life– and death– share universal truths.

Here, now, some of Nora Ephron’s most quotable quotes from her work on stage, screen and page.  Thank you Nora, we couldn’t have said it better…

“I always read the last page of a book first so that if I die before I finish I’ll know how it turned out.”  ~Billy Crystal to Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally”

“You can’t retrieve you life (unless you’re on Wikipedia, in which case you can retrieve an inaccurate version of it).” ~ I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections

Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.


“Never marry a man you wouldn’t want to be divorced from.”

“You can settle for reality, or you can go off, like a fool, and dream another dream.” ~ Heartburn

“Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.”

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” ~ ’96 Wellesley commencement address

“My mother was a good recreational cook, but what she basically believed about cooking was that if you worked hard and prospered, someone else would do it for you.”

“If pregnancy were a book they would cut out the last two chapters.”

“[A successful parent is one] who raises a child who grows up and is able to pay for his or her own psychoanalysis.”

And who can forget one of the most repeated lines in a movie- breaking ground by bringing up the touchy subject of faking, well, you know…

“I’ll have what she’s having.” ~ When Harry Met Sally (following Meg Ryan’s character demonstrating how easy it is to fake a happy ending)  NOTE: Ephron is credited with that line, but it was actually ad-libbed by director Rob Reiner’s mom, who played the part of the onlooker in the movie.  Ephron did, of course, write the “edgy” and memorable scene.  Ryan’s character was a classic DSP in most areas of her life. Hilarious.

Nora Ephron also had a couple things to say about death…

“…the amount of maintenance involving hair is genuinely overwhelming. Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death.” ~ I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

Thank you Nora, for giving us decades of laughter and new perspectives on living and loving, the DSP way.

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