Old School Americana & Nostalgia


‘When Harry Met Sally’ Almost Had a Heartbreaking Ending, Director Reveals

‘When Harry Met Sally’ Almost Had a Heartbreaking Ending, Director Reveals

Rob Reiner put together When Harry Met Sally at a very tender moment in his own life, and it almost changed this movie’s ending. Reiner, son of Emmy Award-winning actor-writer Carl Reiner, was the director for this rom-com. He’d built up his amount of success thanks to his star turn on the CBS sitcom All in the Family.

Life, though, wasn’t much of a thrill for Reiner back in the early 1980s. During an appearance on Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace on Feb. 17, Reiner offered a little background on his emotional state during that creative period.

“I’d been married for 10 years,” Reiner said. “I’d been single for 10 years, and I couldn’t figure out how I was ever going to be with anybody. That gave birth to When Harry Met Sally.” Reiner had been married to Penny Marshall, but they divorced in 1981. He told Wallace that he “hadn’t met anyone new.”

Rob Reiner Gets A Romantic Intervention

Written by Nora Ephron, When Harry Met Sally stars Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. Crystal plays Harry, who ends up connecting with a college friend in Sally, played by Ryan. They are debating whether or not men and women can simply be friends, Us Magazine reports.

The movie shows them talking about it a lot. In the end, Harry goes to a New Year’s Eve party, finds Sally, and admits his love for her just before midnight. They share a kiss and we learn, through the note on the screen, that Harry and Sally got married three months later.

Now, back to Reiner, who almost adjusted this movie’s ending so there would be no joyful ending. “It was going to be the two of them seeing each other after years, talking, and then walking away from each other,” Reiner said.

Alas, though, either fate, luck, good timing, or Cupid intervened. Reiner met Michele Singer and they got married in 1989, which happened to be the year When Harry Met Sally opened in theaters. Reiner and Singer are the parents of three children, Jake, Nick, and Romy.

Also, Reiner shares a daughter, Tracy, who was born in 1964, with Penny Marshall. Sadly, Marshall, who gained stardom through Laverne & Shirley as well as being a director herself, died in 2018 at 75 years old.

For Reiner, meeting Singer provided him with the impetus to change the movie’s ending. “I met [Michele] while we were making the film, and I changed the ending,” Reiner said. He gave credit to Singer for this movie’s “tearjerker” ending.

‘When Harry Met Sally’ Becomes Major Hit

When Harry Met Sally ended up being a huge hit for Reiner, Crystal, and Ryan. To this day, people consider the movie one of the best rom-com films ever done.

Reiner, though, admitted back in 2019 that doing the movie kind of felt like a big gamble to take.

“You never know. You make a movie, and hopefully you like it, and hopefully other people [do too],” he said. “(And) you have no idea if it will stand the test of time, and it’s kind of cool that it did.” Reiner credits the movie’s overall themes in it as responsible for it staying so fresh. “I think that there are some basic truths about men and women that people connect with, and those kind of things — that dance, that weird dance that men and women do with one another kind of is basic and kind of there all of the time,” he said.

Of course, many people will remember Ryan’s fake orgasm scene in a restaurant sitting across from Crystal. It’s something Sally does to show how easy it is for women to fake it. Even Ryan’s son Jack Quaid, whom she shares with ex-husband Dennis Quaid, avoided seeing the movie for a long time. And that scene had a lot to do with it. Yet he, too, found the movie to be quite endearing upon finally seeing it.