"Nora’s writing was about the world witnessed by her,” Tom Hanks said on Friday at the Women in the World Summit 2013. The actor, who is currently starring in Ephron’s posthumously produced Broadway play, “Lucky Guy,” delivered a loving tribute to his friend and colleague who died of cancer on June 26, 2012.
Hanks explained that to Ephron--who was trained as a journalist--“everything was copy,” meaning that she used every bit of her experience to imbue her fictional work with tender, funny, and fierce reality. Many of her favorite haunts around Manhattan, such as the shop where she bought bagels on the weekends, ended up as locations in her films.
Hanks described her rich career and her uncanny intuition. “She covered the Beatles and ‘thought they were adorable,’” he said. “She invested in Starbucks when there were only 100 Starbucks.”
Ephron was a woman who preferred great conversation at a sit-down dinner to cocktail party “hubbub.” She insisted people be able to speak well but also listen well. “She would ask you a harmless, easy question,” Hanks recalled, “and just like that, you had made a contribution to her story.”
Hanks described a woman who seemed to have it all (“with a capital H. I. A”), but said: “She would have scoffed at that, because it’s nothing more than a sweet fantasy.”
He paused to gather his emotions as he described how motherhood was “the least accessible of her roles” and that she sometimes found raising her two sons confounding. Ultimately, Hanks said, that’s why Ephron’s sensibility is so accessible. She exposed her humanity through every piece of wonderful work she offered to the world.
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