Today Show: Legacy Of Nora Ephron
Nora Ephron was a screenwriter who had a way with words like no one else in the entertainment business. She could make you laugh, cry and fall in love with her characters just minutes into a movie. She looked at the relationships of men and women, how they reacted to each other and misunderstood each other and she made those moments into movies like Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail.
She was a strong woman as well. She broke into the boy’s club of Hollywood directors, where she was nominated three different times for an Academy Award. Even while battling cancer, Ephron still found the energy to write two books, two plays, direct a movie and write countless blog posts and articles.
In one of those essays she wrote a note to her sons telling them to be big enough things in this world for them to think ‘I wish mom was here.’ That moment has come for her son Jacob Bernstein.
Today Show: Jacob Bernstein New York Times Article To Mother, Nora Ephron
Jacob Bernstein submitted an article to the New York Times, which will be in the New York Times Magazine March 9 2013, in which he candidly and openly speaks about his mother and her battle with cancer.
Bernstein said he stopped numerous times when writing the article. He kept asking himself if it would be good enough for his mother, always trying to think of ways she would make it funnier or more heartbreaking or to simply use her unique point of view to get more emotion from his words.
Although Ephron kept her cancer secret from the world, Bernstein said he decided to write about her so openly after hearing his grandmother tell him long ago that “everything is just a copy of something else.” So in her final days, Bernstein sat by the bedside of his mother and took notes on her dying days, just as his mother had done when her mother died. There were times when he wanted to stop the note-taking and be more positive about the chemotherapy working, but he knew if it did not work, he would have wished he had taken notes.
Bernstein said his mother kept her sense of humor even as she drifted in and out of consciousness. He shared a story about his mother answering questions from doctors, simple questions like ‘what is your name’ and ‘when is your birthday,’ when they asked her who the President was in that year. Fed up with the questions, Ephron simply rolled her eyes and stopped answering the questions. Bernstein also touched on why he thought his mother’s movies were so timeless. He used You’ve Got Mail as an example, pointing out how she was writing about the internet and dating on the internet before anyone else was. And now look where we are as a society.
“Those movies operated on levels you don’t ordinarily see,” he said.
As for the piece in the NY Times, Bernstein said it was difficult to write without his mother. He didn’t even know if he wanted to continue writing after her death. She was the one he would turn to for writing advice, and she was the one who gave him the courage to continue writing.