I was looking at the situation all wrong. When Nora Ephron died last week, I was thinking about her top movie moments rather than her life. I was evaluating her films: liked Sleepless in Seattle, but You’ve Got Mail, not so much. Enjoyed Heartburn. Julie and Julia: Julia-yes, Julie-eh. Silkwood I enjoyed, but I wouldn’t even watch Bewitched.
Then I read John Blumenthal’s piece on how Nora Ephron took pity on him “as a lowly peon at Esquire magazine. Then she found me a job.” Or Dick Cavett’s Vamping With Nora, when a guest failed to appear on his talk show, and they had to fill 20 minutes. Plus some other pieces I didn’t cite. Or listening to Diane Sawyer talking about her friend on ABC News; I had no idea before she read the story that they even knew each other, but I could just tell, by her delivery.
And it reminded me of going to funerals of people I knew, or, more likely, people I didn’t know but attended the service because I knew a family member. Almost inevitably, I would get to know more about them than I could have possibly imagined. Parts of their interesting lives to which I was not privy until it was too late. And I feel sad, sad in a way I could not have possibly imagined. These people are losing this AMAZING person. I’d SO feel their pain, their sense of loss.
Oddly, with all the things I read about Nora Ephron, I was feeling the same way. I wish I HAD attended dinner parties with her, as someone had suggested because I’m now convinced she would have been wise and witty and entertaining. And so, I’m surprisingly sad that, at the age of 71, Nora Ephron has died of leukemia.
Whereas, my feeling about Andy Griffith, who died on July 3, was more immediate. My father and Andy were born in the same year, 1926. More than once, I wish my dad were more patient with me, liked Sheriff Andy Taylor was with his son Opie (Ron Howard). Not that he couldn’t be stern – the episode I remember the best is the one in which Opie kills a mother bird with his slingshot and is forced to become her babies’ surrogate mother. And Sheriff Andy believed in due process of the law.
For reasons I cannot clearly explain, I was a big fan of Matlock, with Griffith as a cornpone, but savvy lawyer in a light blue seersucker suit. I enjoyed his performance in the movie Waitress. But perhaps his greatest role was in the movie A Face in the Crowd, as Gordon noted.
Though beloved in his home state of North Carolina, I recall that Griffith took some heat for his support for an Obamacare proposal.