Stars & pals in emotional sendoff
- Last Updated: 2:38 AM, July 10, 2012
- Posted: 1:09 AM, July 10, 2012
Fans, family and food lovers gave a laugh-filled, star-studded sendoff yesterday to storytelling maven Nora Ephron, who died last month to the shock of even her closest friends.
The Post reporter-turned-movie director, who gave Hollywood such hits as “Sleepless in Seattle” and “When Harry Met Sally,” was remembered as a doting, matchmaking big sister to everybody, who dispensed advice on life and love as easily as she shared a favorite recipe.
At a Lincoln Center memorial, hundreds of Ephron’s dearest friends and admirers filled Alice Tully Hall to hear stars like Tom Hanks, Martin Short, Mike Nichols and Meryl Streep riff on her delightful eccentricities.
“She didn’t like surprises, except happy ones,” said Streep, who was disappointed over Ephron’s secrecy about her illness.
“She really did catch us napping. She pulled a fast one on all of us. It’s really stupid to be mad at someone who dies, but I have managed it.
“I feel so privileged — and so pissed off and so honored. I can’t help but feel that this is exactly what she intended.”
Few other events, outside of an awards ceremony, could attract such luminaries as Steven Spielberg, Steve Martin, Paul Simon, Sally Field, Lauren Bacall, Martin Scorsese, Annette Bening, Ellen Barkin and Joel Grey.
But Ephron, who died June 26 of leukemia at 71, managed to pull it off with ease.
As it turned out, she had cooked up the memorial herself, filing the plans in a folder marked “exit.” Even the program had a recipe: sweet-potato gratin. At the reception, waiters served her favorite pink champagne.
“I loved how she was usually the smartest one in the room and never made anybody feel stupid,” said Ephron’s sister Delia.
Speakers delighted in Ephron’s love of romance.
“Nora believed in love,” said actress Rita Wilson. “She celebrated love, and she wanted people to be in love.”
Additional reporting by Ian Mohr