On other days, Tom Hanks had used Nora Ephron’s words to make his magic on the screen and, more recently, on Broadway in her play Lucky Guy.
He now stepped on the stage at the Women in the World Summit to offer his own words in tribute to his bard and buddy. He spoke of what had made him a truly fortunate guy.
“If you were lucky enough to know Nora Ephron professionally and personally…” he began.
He went on to describe someone who was at heart a journalist, who appointed herself the managing editor of her own existence.
“Her means of making a living made her way of making a living all the more fascinating,” Hanks said.
The result was a fabulous life as a writer and movie director, social commentator, and cultural icon, a life perfect in even the smallest details.
“Organic radishes,” Hanks said.
He reported that he had first encountered her in a fabled Manhattan apartment building where she resided and where he was subletting with his pregnant wife. Ephron had given them a list of all the best places to get everything, from bagels to nuts.
“They all turned out to be the same locations we used in the movie You’ve Got Mail,” Hanks noted.
That included the bookstore where Ephron had her first job, which also had its own precocious perfection.
“She once gift-wrapped a book for Cary Grant,” Hanks now reported.
She seemed to have achieved what is said to be impossible for anyone, most particularly a woman.
“Having it all,” Hanks said. “The capital H-I-A.”
He then spoke of one aspect of life where Ephron had not been magnificently accomplished just by virtue of her smarts and instincts. She had struggled with motherhood as she had never needed to struggle with her writing. But this had made her all the more poignantly human.
“Most accessible,” he said.
His voice caught and he seemed near tears, but he recovered himself as he went on to explain that this had also been her greatest triumph. The screen filled with a picture of her with her most magnificent work, her two sons.
“Page one,” Hanks said.