Nov 18

Estelle Reiner Dies – 1914-2008

Estelle Reiner died last month. She was the actress who uttered one of the most famous lines in modern cinema. She was the woman in When Harry, Met Sally who, in response to Meg Ryan’s fake orgasm scene said, “I’ll have what she’s having.” She was the mother of the director Rob Reiner and wife to Carl Reiner, who directed some early Steve Martin comedies and alongside Mel Brooks was famous for the 2000-year old man.

The line wasn’t in the original script. It was created on set by Billy Crystal and, for me, it really made the scene and was the only way to top Ryan’s performance.
There is an important lesson remember that even though our speeches or presentations might be finished and rehearsed to within an inch of our lives, we still need to be flexible.

We have to be flexible enough to be able to incorporate an ad-lib, our own or a comment by someone else (Billy Crystal came up with the line, but Estelle delivered it perfectly) on the day which might just add an extra sliver of brilliance. 

On the other hand, something might go wrong and you’ll need to address it in order to re-capture the audience’s attention and remind them that you own the stage. By directly addressing a fluffed line, or some sort of technical hitch you can potentially release tension and get a laugh.

So try to keep an open, flexible mind.