Actor Tom Hanks has penned a moving tribute to Nora Ephron, revealing he became a fan of the late screenwriter and director after his wife dragged him to a screening of her movie This Is My Life.
Ephron died on Tuesday after losing her secret battle with acute myeloid leukemia. Hanks, who starred in Ephron's films Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail, was among the celebrities who offered up condolences.
He has now written a lengthy tribute piece for Time magazine, and admits he was only made aware of Ephron's talents after wife Rita Wilson took him to a screening in 1992.
"As wives are wont to do, mine announced one evening in 1992 that we were going to a movie," Hanks recalled. "The movie was This Is My Life, the writer and first-time director was Nora Ephron, and within the hour, there we were in the cinema watching the opening credits of a middle-aged chick flick.
"I thought it was... an ideal debut film that sparkled with bits of genius. This was the first time I had seen a geographically correct moving montage in a movie - real cars in real traffic in the actual order of transit required to get from point A (the ordinary life in not-Manhattan) to point B (Manhattan), a distance of miles physically but light-years culturally."
The film made Hanks determined to work with Ephron.
"When I was told she was going to direct a second movie - Sleepless in Seattle - and wanted to meet, I actually hollered at my agent: 'She shot that geographically authentic move into Manhattan!'"
The Cast Away star has only fond memories of his friend and collaborator, adding: "Knowing and loving Nora meant her world - or her neighbourhood - became yours. She gave you books to read and took you to cafes you'd never heard of that became legends.
"She would give your kids small, goofy parts in movies with the caveat that they might not make the final cut but you'd get a tape of the scene. For a wrap gift, she would send you a note saying something like, 'a man is going to come to your house to plant an orange tree - or apple or pomegranate or whatever - and you will eat its fruit for the rest of your days'. Rita and I chose orange, and the fruit has been lovely, sweet and abundant, just as Nora promised - a constant and perfect reminder of the woman we loved so much."