Yesterday, famed gossip columnist Liz Smith posted an obituary for her friend, writer-director Nora Ephron, who was not dead at the time. The obituary was pulled from Wowowow.com, and hours later it was confirmed that Ephron had died of acute mykeloid leukemia. Smith discussed the mistake with CityRoom today, "I’m now famous as the person who killed Nora Ephron before she was dead."
Smith, who has known Ephron since the 1960s when they were at the NY Post, explained that she had been contacted by one of Ephron's relatives who said that Ephron was near death, "I thought Nora was dead and I didn’t want to bother the family... I made a classic mistake and the story escaped." She added, "If I had an editor or a publisher, maybe I wouldn’t have done it."
In her wowowow.com column today, Smith writes, "This is one of the saddest days of my life and when you learn that the giant satirist, writer, essayist Nora Ephron has died, as she did yesterday in New York Hospital, it should be sad for you too. Nora was the-better-than-Dorothy Parker literary genius of our times and a much finer more marvelous human being than the downbeat Dottie... Nora seemed fine when we lunched about a month ago. I knew she’d been ill but never that it was fatal. I am as shocked as anyone else. There will be a funeral tomorrow at 11:30 but I am reluctant to say where for fear there’ll be a riot. I will have to write about Nora Ephron another day but my heart goes to Nick Pileggi, Jacob and Max Bernstein and the thousands of people who adored Nora Ephron. I am just one of them."