Hollywood actor Tom Hanks fought back tears as he paid tribute to late director/screenwriter Nora Ephron on the opening night of her Broadway play as she originally planned to join him onstage for the curtain call.

The actor is starring in Lucky Guy, which Ephron wrote before her death from cancer last year (12), and he honoured his late friend at the end of the show's official debut at Manhattan's Broadhurst Theatre on Monday night (01Apr13).

A photograph of Ephron was shown as the cast took their bows, and Hanks admits it was an emotional moment as she had hoped to be there for the play's opening night.

He tells New York Post gossip column Page Six, "That was a tough moment. We were going to do this, and Nora and (the play's director) George C. Wolfe were going to walk out onstage. I miss her. What more can you say?"

Famous faces in the audience on opening night included Meg Ryan, who starred opposite Hanks in two of Ephron's films, Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail.