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1237526 2038-01-18 05:00:00.0 UTC 2038-01-18T00:00:00.000-05:00 2012-06-27 20:27:55.0 UTC 2012-06-27T16:27:55.000-04:00 journalist-and-screenwriter-nora-ephron-wrote-with-intelligence-unfailing Published 2012-06-28 03:01:23.0 UTC 2012-06-27T23:01:23.000-04:00 features/celebrities DTI 93859241 Nora Ephron made having it all look easy. Ephron, who died Tuesday at age 71 as a result of leukemia, was a journalist, novelist, humorist, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, playwright, director. It's a resume few of us could match. Yet Ephron was also a happily married wife (third time lucky), devoted mother, obsessive cook and a woman who, despite her lifelong feminism, wrote at hilarious length in her 2006 bestseller I Feel Bad About My Neck about her epic acts of vanity in the face of aging: "My hair-dying habit ... costs more per year than my first automobile." Most people know her for the movies she wrote and in some cases directed, and rightly so. No modern screenwriter is better at romantic comedies — pretty much all the rom-coms that pass forgettably through theaters these days are pale imitations of Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail and When Harry Met Sally. One of my first thoughts on hearing of her death was a line she wrote for Billy Crystal in that last film: "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." (I hope she'd just read the last page of a good one.) But to me Ephron was always foremost a journalist and essayist. I met her a couple of years ago at a party thrown by her publisher. She looked a bit frail — she was already ill, although she kept that very private — but was warm and witty. (And, of course, her hair was perfect.) Having been a fan of her work since the 1970s, I was so thrilled I sounded like an idiot; I think I said something like "Crazy Salad changed my life," and she said something funny and gracious, then circulated. But it did. A collection of columns about women that she wrote for Esquire in the 1970s, Crazy Salad made me want to be a journalist. Writing about feminism and about relationships between men and women at a time when those were grim battleground subjects, Ephron brought to them a distinctive voice that combined intelligence, sharp observation, self-deprecation and unfailing humor. A lot of the obituaries of Ephron compare her with Dorothy Parker. That's apt in many ways, but Parker, beneath her delicious wit, was a dark, dark soul; Ephron always had lightness and warmth. She could be biting but was never bitter. She could, it seems, turn anything into at least a rueful laugh — notably her nasty divorce from second husband Carl Bernstein, which became her 1983 novel Heartburn and in turn her first screenplay. Ephron's parents were successful screenwriters, too, and she said that some of her mother's best advice to her was "Take notes. Everything is copy." That instinct to observe enriched everything she did, but especially her reporting, which may have been her first and best love. The evidence: The finest piece in her last book, I Remember Nothing, published in 2010, is the wonderful account of her days as a young reporter, "Journalism: A Love Story." When she died, Ephron was working on several movies and a play. So the best farewell would be to enjoy her work. Watch the movies again (and if you haven't seen them, wise up). Head to Asolo Theatre in Sarasota, where Love, Loss, and What I Wore, a play she wrote with her sister Delia Ephron, is running in repertory through July 15. Or get a copy of Crazy Salad and read the first essay, "A Few Words About Breasts." Ephron begins with her own comic teenage angst over late-arriving breasts and expands into a laugh-out-loud funny and quietly wise look at women's complex feelings about their bodies. First published in 1972, it's so fresh and real it reads like it could have been written last week. On one hand, that's a reminder of how little some things have changed in 40 years. On the other, it's a great example of how good Ephron was at making us think while making us laugh. Colette Bancroft can be reached at cbancroft@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8435. By Colette Bancroft, Times Book Editor Celebrities,Features,breaking-news Journalist and screenwriter Nora Ephron wrote with intelligence, unfailing humor<p></p> CBANCROFTN Whether in movies or books, Nora Ephron wrote with humor, intelligence and great warmth. 4STB Main A lifetime of laughter 2 etc_ephron062812 A lifetime of laughter 2012-06-28 04:00:00.0 UTC 2012-06-28T00:00:00.000-04:00 nora ephron, death, appreciation, <i>When Harry Met Sally, </i>A Few Words About Breasts true templatedata/tampabaytimes/StaffArticle/data/2012/06/27/93859241-journalist-and-screenwriter-nora-ephron-wrote-with-intelligence-unfailing StaffArticle 2012-11-19 03:19:43.0 UTC 2012-11-18T22:19:43.000-05:00 features,celebritiesCelebritiesNora Ephron made having it all look easy.nora ephron, death, appreciation, <i>When Harry Met Sally, </i>A Few Words About BreastsColette Bancroft 380995 2038-01-18 05:00:00.0 UTC 2038-01-18T00:00:00.000-05:00 2012-10-25 12:36:45.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:36:45.000-04:00 colette-bancroft published 2016-06-03 17:01:14.0 UTC 2016-06-03T13:01:14.000-04:00 Colette Bancroft <p>Colette Bancroft is the book editor of the Tampa Bay Times. She joined the <i>Times</i> in 1997 and has been a news editor, general assignment features writer and food and travel writer, as well as a frequent contributor of reviews of books, theater and other arts. She became book editor in 2007. Before joining the <i>Times</i>, Bancroft was a reporter and editor at the <i>Arizona Daily Star</i> in Tucson and an instructor in the English departments of the University of South Florida and the University of Arizona. Bancroft grew up in Tampa.</p> Times Book Editor writers DTI 33745545 Colette Bancroft is the book editor of the Tampa Bay Times. She joined the Times in 1997 and has been a news editor, general assignment features writer and food and travel writer, as well as a frequent contributor of reviews of books, theater and other arts. She became book editor in 2007. Before joining the Times, Bancroft was a reporter and editor at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson and an instructor in the English departments of the University of South Florida and the University of Arizona. Bancroft grew up in Tampa. <p>Phone: (727) 893-8435</p> <p>Email: <a href="mailto:cbancroft@tampabay.com">cbancroft@tampabay.com</a></p> 1 /resources/images/dti/2016/06/Bancroft_Collete_web_17341947.jpg true templatedata/tampabaytimes/AuthorProfile/data/33745545-colette-bancroft AuthorProfile 2012-10-25 12:36:45.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:36:45.000-04:00 <span style="display:none;" class="author vcard"><span class="fn">COLETTE BANCROFT</span></span><span style="display:none;" class="source-org vcard"><span class="org fn">Tampa Bay Times</span></span><a rel="item-license" href="/universal/user_agreement.shtml">&#169; 2016 Tampa Bay Times</a><br /><br />Times Book Editor 2272346 2016-04-07 20:38:29.0 UTC 5 Months Ago the-breakfast-nooks-get-21st-century-updates features/homeandgarden The breakfast nooks get 21st century updates<p></p> StaffArticle 2272486 2016-04-08 20:03:19.0 UTC 5 Months Ago garden-art-can-bring-drama-and-design-to-outdoor-spaces features/homeandgarden Garden art can bring drama and design to outdoor spaces<p></p> StaffArticle 2273374 2016-04-15 13:31:11.0 UTC 4 Months Ago watch-out-for-these-red-flags-when-during-home-inspection features/homeandgarden Watch out for these red flags when during home inspection<p></p> StaffArticle <p>Nora Ephron made having it all look easy.</p> <p>Ephron, who died Tuesday at age 71 as a result of leukemia, was a journalist, novelist, humorist, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, playwright, director. It's a resume few of us could match. Yet Ephron was also a happily married wife (third time lucky), devoted mother, obsessive cook and a woman who, despite her lifelong feminism, wrote at hilarious length in her 2006 bestseller <i>I Feel Bad About My Neck</i> about her epic acts of vanity in the face of aging: &quot;My hair-dying habit ... costs more per year than my first automobile.&quot; </p> <p>Most people know her for the movies she wrote and in some cases directed, and rightly so. No modern screenwriter is better at romantic comedies — pretty much all the rom-coms that pass forgettably through theaters these days are pale imitations of <i>Sleepless in Seattle</i>, <i>You've Got Mail</i> and <i>When Harry Met Sally</i>. One of my first thoughts on hearing of her death was a line she wrote for Billy Crystal in that last film: &quot;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.&quot; (I hope she'd just read the last page of a good one.) </p> <p>But to me Ephron was always foremost a journalist and essayist. I met her a couple of years ago at a party thrown by her publisher. She looked a bit frail — she was already ill, although she kept that very private — but was warm and witty. (And, of course, her hair was perfect.) Having been a fan of her work since the 1970s, I was so thrilled I sounded like an idiot; I think I said something like &quot;<i>Crazy Salad</i> changed my life,&quot; and she said something funny and gracious, then circulated.</p> <p>But it did. A collection of columns about women that she wrote for <i>Esquire</i> in the 1970s, <i>Crazy Salad</i> made me want to be a journalist. Writing about feminism and about relationships between men and women at a time when those were grim battleground subjects, Ephron brought to them a distinctive voice that combined intelligence, sharp observation, self-deprecation and unfailing humor.</p> <p>A lot of the obituaries of Ephron compare her with Dorothy Parker. That's apt in many ways, but Parker, beneath her delicious wit, was a dark, dark soul; Ephron always had lightness and warmth. She could be biting but was never bitter. She could, it seems, turn anything into at least a rueful laugh — notably her nasty divorce from second husband Carl Bernstein, which became her 1983 novel <i>Heartburn </i>and in turn her first screenplay.</p> <p>Ephron's parents were successful screenwriters, too, and she said that some of her mother's best advice to her was &quot;Take notes. Everything is copy.&quot; That instinct to observe enriched everything she did, but especially her reporting, which may have been her first and best love. The evidence: The finest piece in her last book, <i>I Remember Nothing</i>, published in 2010, is the wonderful account of her days as a young reporter, &quot;Journalism: A Love Story.&quot; </p> <p>When she died, Ephron was working on several movies and a play. So the best farewell would be to enjoy her work. Watch the movies again (and if you haven't seen them, wise up). Head to Asolo Theatre in Sarasota, where <i>Love, Loss, and What I Wore</i>, a play she wrote with her sister Delia Ephron, is running in repertory through July 15.</p> <p>Or get a copy of <i>Crazy Salad</i> and read the first essay, &quot;A Few Words About Breasts.&quot; Ephron begins with her own comic teenage angst over late-arriving breasts and expands into a laugh-out-loud funny and quietly wise look at women's complex feelings about their bodies. First published in 1972, it's so fresh and real it reads like it could have been written last week. </p> <p>On one hand, that's a reminder of how little some things have changed in 40 years. On the other, it's a great example of how good Ephron was at making us think while making us laugh.</p> <p><i>Colette Bancroft can be reached at cbancroft@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8435. </i></p>trueruntime2016-08-30 05:47:37