The XX Factor

What Nora Ephron Once Told Charlie Rose About Getting Old

Ephron in her 60s.

Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for The Hollywood Film Festival

Nora Ephron, who died yesterday at 71, famously had little regard for the aging process. When Charlie Rose pressed the acclaimed screenwriter, director, and author to acknowledge the virtues of experience in a December 2010 interview, she stuck resolutely to her wrinkle-lamenting guns. “Is there anything right with getting older? Wisdom when you can’t remember anything … Having more time to read when you can’t see? … I don’t think it’s better to be older.” Which is why, she declared, “it’s important to have that last meal today, tomorrow, soon,” and not “squander it on something like a tuna melt.”


Ephron told Rose that she tried to live by a rule called “Is this what I want to do today?”—a prioritization method that she says elevated charitable donations and shipping the best cookie ever made to a close friend to the top of the list (while memory of who’s who among the Kardashians fell to the wayside). Having furnished the daydreams of the hopeful among us with the best romantic comedies of the past three decades, I sincerely hope Ephron got her hands on one last Nate ‘n Al’s hot dog (with Gulden’s mustard, as she specified to Rose) when she was still able to enjoy it.

Correction, July 16, 2012: This article originally misspelled the name of Gulden’s mustard.