Legendary Hollywood screenwriter, director and producer Nora Ephron passed away at the age of 71 after a private battle with cancer. According to news reports, Nora was fighting a very aggressive
type of leukemia called acute myeloid leukemia.
The force behind blockbusters like When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, Nora was born in NYC to screenwriter parents, who moved the family to Beverly Hills when she was young. Though an early film buff, she went on to study political science at Wellesley College and worked as an intern in the White House during President John F. Kennedy's term in the Sixties. She also served as a reporter at the New York Post and wrote for other esteemed publications.
It wasn’t until the Eighties that her movie career took off after her second husband, infamous Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein, had an affair with Margaret Jay, the daughter of British Prime Minister James Callaghan, and Nora penned the book, and subsequent movie, Heartburn. The queen of the romantic comedy, she created memorable,
strong female characters and helped launch huge film careers, most notable Meg Ryan’s.
She went on to write the BAFTA-winning screenplay for romcom When Harry Met Sally, and directed Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail. One of her latest films blockbusters was Julie & Julia starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.
An accomplished writer, and not just for the big screen, her
collection of essays from 2006, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And
Other Reflections on Being a Woman, soared to the top of the New York Times bestseller list.
The outpouring of admiration for Nora since the news of her death included a moving obituary written by famed New York Post columnist Liz Smith who wrote, "I won't say, 'Rest in peace, Nora'—I will just ask 'What the h*** will we do without you?" Tom Hanks told E! News, "At a dinner table and on a film set she lifted us all with wisdom and wit mixed with love for us and love for life.
[My wife] Rita [Wilson] and I are so very sad to lose our friend who
brought so much joy to all who were lucky enough to know her."
In a statement to The New York Times, Meryl Streep wrote, "Nora just looked at every situation and cocked her
head and thought, 'Hmmmm, how can I make this more fun?' You could call
on her for anything: doctors, restaurants,
recipes, speeches, or just a few jokes, and we all did it, constantly.
She was an expert in all the departments of living well."
Nicole Kidman, who worked with Nora in Bewitched, added her condolences, saying, "She was so smart, warm and funny. I am so grateful that she was my friend and we had the opportunity to work together."
On our end, we're planning an Ephron movie marathon with a box of tissues within reach.
Nora is survived by her third husband, screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi, and sons Jacob and Max. She will be laid to rest on 28 June.