30 Over 30: Nora Ephron

Technically, Nora Ephron made cultural contributions prior to turning 30; she served as a White House intern under the Kennedy administration after college, broke news of Bob Dylan’s marriage to Sara Lownds as a reporter for the New York Post, and wrote columns for New York and Esquire in her late 20s.

The cultural contributions Nora Ephron is most known for, however, are her films. Nora Ephron was nominated three times for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay – for Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally, and Sleepless in Seattle. She wrote her first screenplay at age 42.

In total, Nora Ephron wrote, directed, and produced 15 films, penned a novel and a Tony Award nominated play, and published several bestselling books, all while raising  two children.

She exemplified the Yogi Berra quote she invoked in her commencement address to the Wellesley Class of 1996: “‘When you see a fork in the road,’ he said, ‘take it.’ Yes, it’s supposed to be a joke, but as someone said in a movie I made, don’t laugh, this is my life, this is the life many women lead: two paths diverge in a wood, and we get to take them both.”

As she reminded the class:

“Maybe young women don’t wonder whether they can have it all any longer, but in case you are wondering, of course you can have it all. What are you going to do? Everything is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications. It will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you. And don’t be frightened; you can always change your mind. I know: I’ve had four careers and three husbands. And this is something else I want to tell you, one of the hundreds of things I didn’t know when I was sitting here so many years ago: you are not going to be you, fixed and immutable you, forever.”

Although not all of us will be lucky enough to have Meryl Streep as a stand-in.

Thank you, Nora.

Categories: 30 Over 30

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