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Nora Ephron

  • Food became, for dinner parties in the sixties, what abstract expressionism had been in the fifties.

  • Working as a journalist is exactly like being a wallflower at an orgy.

  • We have lived through the era when happiness was a warm puppy, and the era when happiness was a dry martini, and now we have come to the era when happiness is 'knowing what your uterus looks like.'

    • Nora Ephron,
    • "Vaginal Politics" (1972), Crazy Salad: Some Things About Women ()
  • The one thing I would like to get across about my whole feeling regarding high school is how I was when I was fifteen. Gawky. Always a hem hanging down, or strap loose, or a pimple on my chin. I never knew what to do with my hair. I was a mess. And I still carry that fifteen-year-old girl around now. A piece of me still believes I'm the girl nobody dances with.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • in Ralph Keyes, Is There Life After High School? ()
  • Whenever I get married, I start buying Gourmet magazine. I think of it as my own personal bride's disease.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • "Gourmet Magazine," Esquire ()
  • There is no reason to confuse television news with journalism.

  • New Orleans is one of the two most ingrown, self-obsessed little cities in the United States. (The other is San Francisco.)

  • ... people in New Orleans really care about food, care about it passionately, can spend hours arguing over whether Antoine's is better than Galatoire's or the other way around ... in New Orleans, there is basically nothing to do but eat and then argue about it.

  • I am continually fascinated at the difficulty intelligent people have in distinguishing what is controversial from what is merely offensive.

  • Women are being considered as candidates for vice-president of the United States because it is the worst job in America. It's amazing that men will take it. A job with real power is first lady. I'd be willing to run for that. As far as the men who are running for president are concerned, they aren't even people I would date.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • speech ()
  • Lesbianism has always seemed to me an extremely inventive response to the shortage of men but otherwise not worth the trouble.

  • If pregnancy were a book, they would cut the last two chapters.

  • ... in a socialist country you can get rich by providing necessities, while in a capitalist country you can get rich by providing luxuries.

  • What I love about cooking is that after a hard day, there is something comforting about the fact that if you melt butter and add flour and then hot stock, it will get thick!

  • My mother was a good recreational cook, but what she basically believed about cooking is that if you worked hard and prospered, someone else would do it for you.

  • Beware of men who cry. It's true that men who cry are sensitive to and in touch with feelings, but the only feelings they tend to be sensitive to and in touch with are their own.

  • It seemed to me that the desire to get married — which, I regret to say, I believe is basic and primal in women — is followed almost immediately by an equally basic and primal urge, which is to be single again.

  • Some people pretend to like capers, but the truth is that any dish that tastes good with capers in it tastes even better with capers not in it.

  • When something like this happens, you suddenly have no sense of reality at all. You have lost a piece of your past. The infidelity itself is small potatoes compared to the low-level brain damage that results when a whole chunk of your life turns out to have been completely different from what you thought it was. It becomes impossible to look back at anything that's happened ... without wondering what was really going on.

  • You enter into a certain amount of madness when you marry a person with pets, but I didn't care.

  • That's the truest sign of insanity — insane people are always sure they're just fine. It's only the sane people who are willing to admit they're crazy.

  • If he has done nothing else for American culture, he has given it two of the great lies of the twentieth century: 'I buy it for the fiction' and 'I buy it for the interviews.'

    • Nora Ephron,
    • on Hugh Hefner, in Celebrity Research Group, The Bedside Book of Celebrity Gossip ()
  • A successful parent is one who raises a child who grows up and is able to pay for her or his own psychoanalysis.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • in People ()
  • ... I cannot understand any woman's wanting to be the first woman to do anything. ... It is a devastating burden and I could not take it, could not be a pioneer, a Symbol of Something Greater.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • "Bernice Gera, First Lady Umpire" (1973), Nora Ephron Collected ()
  • ... the moment a person ceases to be obscure he is catapulted straight into the big time, and after only a minute or two of the good stuff, and after only five or six minutes of denial, he's looking directly at the underbelly, right into the maw. Staring straight back at him are thousands of journalists who, having just made him famous, are now ready to follow up by trashing him and making his life a misery. They'll print anything whether it's true or not, nothing personal, that's how it is, they have space to fill, nobody asked you to become famous so don't blame them, what goes up must come down and the sooner the better.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • "Famous First Words," Nora Ephron Collected ()
  • Let's face it: part of being a grownup is that every day you have to choose between going out at night or staying home, and it is one of life's unhappy truths that there is not enough time to do both.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • "Living With My VCR," Nora Ephron Collected ()
  • We weren't meant to have futures, we were meant to marry them. We weren't meant to have politics, or careers that mattered, or opinions, or lives; we were meant to marry them. If you wanted to be an architect, you married an architect.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • speech to Wellesley graduating class ()
  • Look at the parts the Oscar-nominated actresses played this year: hooker, hooker, hooker, hooker, and nun.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • speech to Wellesley graduating class ()
  • One of the things people always say to you if you get upset is, don't take it personally, but listen hard to what's going on and, please, I beg you, take it personally. Understand: every attack on Hillary Clinton for not knowing her place is an attack on you. Underneath almost all those attacks are the words: get back, get back to where you once belonged.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • speech to Wellesley graduating class ()
  • Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • speech to Wellesley graduating class ()
  • American society has a remarkable ability to resist change, or to take whatever change has taken place and attempt to make it go away.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • speech to Wellesley graduating class ()
  • When your children are teenagers, it's important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.

  • Never marry a man you wouldn't want to be divorced from.

  • Whenever someone says the words 'Our friendship is more important than this,' watch out, because it almost never is.

  • The last four years of psychoanalysis are a waste of money.

  • People have only one way to be.

  • Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death.

  • Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.

  • ... I don't know why so much nonsense about age is written — although I can certainly understand that no one really wants to read anything that says aging sucks.

  • No one is more romantic than a cynic. I do think that you don't become cynical or 'unsentimental' unless there's a core of romanticism or sentiment that's had a few chips nicked into it.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • in Los Angeles Times ()
  • Success comes and goes. Your flops stay with you for life.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • in Newsweek ()
  • Be the heroine of your own story, not the victim.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • in Newsweek ()
  • My mother wanted us to understand that the tragedies of your life one day have the potential to be the comic stories the next.

    • Nora Ephron
  • The big cities of America are becoming Third World countries.

    • Nora Ephron
  • Journalists are interesting. They just aren't as interesting as the things they cover.

    • Nora Ephron
  • I always read the last page of a book first so that if I die before I finish I'll know how it turned out.

    • Nora Ephron
  • You're born, you die. Everything in between is subject to interpretation.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • Lucky Guy
    • ()
  • [On George W. Bush:] How is it possible that the president is off on vacation and the vice president is, too? Not that it matters that much if the president is on vacation; on some level, the president is always on vacation.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • 2005, The Most of Nora Ephron ()
  • I know that I am essentially a sort of fun-loving person who really just wants to sit around and eat pies.

    • Nora Ephron
  • If you want monogamy, marry a swan.

    • Nora Ephron
  • I have made a lot of mistakes falling in love, and regretted most of them, but never the potatoes that went with them.

Nora Ephron, U.S. writer, journalist, screenwriter

(1941 - 2012)