Nora Ephron, Andy Griffith, and the sense of loss

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. InJulie 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 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.

Read Mark Evanier’s remembrance, and check out these interviews with Andy Griffith.

0 thoughts on “Nora Ephron, Andy Griffith, and the sense of loss”

  1. This is the Way of Life and of Death:

    The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
    There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.


  2. Yeah… I went to a funeral for a friend’s daughter. The daughter was about my age. They had a huge display in the church of all her artwork and poetry. It really, really affected me, particularly because she was so talented and loved a lot of the same music that I did.


  3. The most important part of our lives is between the dashes on the headstone dates. It’s there that we get to see the “real” person.


  4. I adore Nora! Makes me laugh every time. She’s a cynic with the heart of a romantic idielast. As George Carlin would say, Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idielast, and we see it in her occasional idielast takes on love that counter the jaded quips. The Idealist:“I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” (When Harry Met Sally)The Cynic:“And then the dreams break into a million tiny pieces. The dream dies. Which leaves you with a choice: you can settle for reality, or you can go off, like a fool, and dream another dream.” (Heartburn)I always suspect that in her heart she sides with the hope that the dream can really exist. Maybe it’s about how we define our dreams and what we consider to be success As she remarked to the Wellesley College Class of 1996: “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.


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