Nora Ephron came of age in the 60s when women were burning their bras and forming angry moshpits to fight for equality and justice.
It was a hard time to be a female journalist. Against their better judgment, Gloria Steinem and Barbara Walters were forced into bunnysuits to do "investigative" work at Playboy clubs. Most others had their work relegated to the women's section, writing about fashion and recipes.
Nora took her work another way. She broke into the magazine business, a place that was friendly to women writers, where she churned out softball pieces about women struggling to have it all. And yet, she decided to take the traditional route, leaving her beloved New York for Washington to play "wife of" to Carl Bernstein, a man of high morals professionally but gutter values when it came to his family.
Carl could have been the inspiration for Don Draper on Mad Men. But Nora was no Betty Draper.
She left her philandering husband and set out to prove herself as a writer and single mom. Nobody's heard of Bernstein since, but boy did we hear from Nora.
She wrote a bitter novel, Heartburn, about her time with Bernstein then was, somehow, able to park her anger and embrace love once again. She wrote and directed some of the most profitable and wonderfully sappy movies -- the ones they play over and over on Sunday afternoons. When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail, Julie and Julia, Hanging Up -- these were movies ready-made to mend the broken hearts of women everywhere.
We loved Nora dearly. Some of us even made the recipes she interspersed between rants in Heartburn. We watched the movies, then read her books. When did the woman have time?
They say if there hadn't been Dorothy Parker, there would never have been Nora Ephron.
Well, if we hadn't had Nora, there would never have been a Tina Fey or an Amy Poehler.
She was a trailblazer, a woman who wanted it all and went after it -- despite a few bumps in the road.
Why did she succeed when so many others failed?
She was infinitely practical.
As she famously once remarked: When you're on your deathbed, do you regret never using the good silver?
Nora always used the good silver.