What would your friends say about you?

I have been overwhelmed this week and last with the large number of remembrances that have been published following the death of Nora Ephron. Ephron, for those too young to know, had a distinguished career, or actually, four careers. She was a journalist, a screenwriter, a best-selling author and a film director. She wrote the screen plays for Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, and Julie and Julia (the last two she also directed), among many others.

All her films and books have been praised in the obituaries and tributes, but an equal emphasis has been placed on her ability to make friends, many friends. She seems to have been at the center of New York literary and film life, with writers and actors and journalists all citing her good humor, her energy, and her perseverance in the face of a fatal illness. Many people were unaware she was fighting leukemia until the very end: she didn’t call attention to herself, and she didn’t whine.

Somehow despite her busy schedule and many projects she found the time for other people. She helped others, mentored younger women, and shared screen credits with those just starting out who needed a leg up. Her legacy of numerous deep friendships stands as high as her artistic output. Her generosity towards others lives on as a testament to her success as a person.

Most of us would be lucky to achieve a tiny fraction of Nora Ephron’s career success. We may not have her energy or remarkable wit, but we would all do well to emulate her warmth, her caring, and her generosity. When all is said and done, that is what counts.

Author: Patricia Rose

Patricia Rose is the Director of Career Services at the University of Pennsylvania.