How To Repossess A Life: NORA EPHRON

Witty NORA EPHRON takes control by telling her story her way, as a novelist, screenwriter and now as director of a touching new movie

Her mother named her Nora after Ibsen's feminist in A Doll's House, and she certainly slammed the door noisily when leaving her first two marriages. But she and her current husband Nicholas Pileggi are more like Dashiell Hammett's Nick and Nora -- for one thing, they have been making much of their living off of crime.

This is more obvious in Pileggi's case, since he wrote the book Wiseguy, about the federal witness-protection program, as well as the Martin Scorsese movie based on it, GoodFellas. Nora, meanwhile, did two comic riffs on the same theme -- screenplays for Cookie (with a...

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