Nora Ephron -- author/screenwriter of such mega-hits as Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail, and Julie and Julia -- has passed away.
I always feel an extra sense of loss when a favorite author passes because her writing "voice" is forever silenced.
I remember watching my favorite Nora Ephron film, When Harry Met Sally, as an 18-year-old in the theater. It was influential to me, the idea that these affable characters could be so witty, could have such important, smart dialogue coming out of their mouths. It all seemed so natural, so effortless. That movie changed the face of romantic comedies, in my opinion. It showed that characters could talk about real things (fears, break-ups, sex), and it showed that a genuine friendship between a man and woman could lead to a solid relationship. Combine that with Rob Reiner's direction and Harry Connick Jr's Sinatra-esque soundtrack, and you've got a sure-fire winner. A classic.
So, here's to Nora Ephron. Thanks for your influence, and for giving your characters such heart and wit. And most of all, for your influence on me as a writer.
**edited to add: in a beautifully-ironic twist, her final work (written just last year) is a collection of witty and poignant anecdotes about life, aging, etc: link here