Nora Ephron: 1941-2012

The screenwriter of When Harry Met Sally... and Sleepless in Seattle was 71.

Director and Academy Award nominated screenwriter Nora Ephron, who wrote some of the sharpest and funniest romantic comedies of the 1980s and 1990s, died June 26 after a battle with leukemia. She was 71.

Ephron's intelligent dialogue and relatable scenarios made her one of the most bankable screenwriters at her peak. Her script for When Harry Met Sally..., which starred Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in the tale of two close friends who take forever to realize they're perfect for each other, was an incisive look at modern love that influenced scores of romantic comedies to come.

Born in New York City in 1941, Ephron began her professional life as a journalist, and her witty longform pieces for the New York Times, New York magazine, and Esquire put her squarely within the "New Journalism" movement of the 1960s and 1970s. But it was her marriage to Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein that gave Ephron her first shot at screenwriting, when she and her husband collaborated on an ultimately unused rewrite of William Goldman's script for All the President's Men (in which Dustin Hoffman played Bernstein). Silkwood, Ephron's first original script, was based on the life and mysterious death of a nuclear-plant whistleblower and earned Ephron her first Oscar nomination in 1983.

Ephron's novel Heartburn, based on her acrimonious divorce from Bernstein, was a bestseller, and she adapted it to the screen in 1986. Her next script, When Harry Met Sally..., earned Ephron another Oscar nod and made her one of Hollywood's most sought-after screenwriters. In 1993, she directed Sleepless in Seattle, which garnered a third Academy Award nom and generated huge box office numbers.

Following 1998's You've Got Mail, which reunited Sleepless in Seattle co-stars Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, Ephron worked less frequently; her last credit was the script for 2009's Julie & Julia, another critical and commercial success.

Ephron was married three times. She is survived by her husband, author and screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi, and two sons from her marriage to Bernstein.

For Nora Ephron's complete filmography on RT, click here.

Comments

Rebeccachu Elizabeth C.

Rebecca Clark

I cannot believe this...we lost another good film-maker. To a disease. A blood cancer.

That is one of the many signs of the apocalypse. Now, even with a handful of good movies released theatrically, the magic of film-making might hit rock-bottom very, very soon...

Jun 26 - 08:10 PM

Phogoodness

Andrew Nguyen

RIP a great filmmaker and writer. When Harry Met Sally is one of my favorite rom-coms

Jun 26 - 09:46 PM

Rebeccachu Elizabeth C.

Rebecca Clark

I know DX

Jun 26 - 11:04 PM

Rebeccachu Elizabeth C.

Rebecca Clark

I know DX

Jun 26 - 11:04 PM

tgibfo

Matt Ritchey

Two thoughts:
1. Nora Ephron WAS 90s romantic comedy.

2. With all the websites (movie related and otherwise) out there, it's a rare thing: I don't think I've ever seen a mean post on RT when it had to do with the loss of an industry professional. I could be missing the jerks that have written them, but for the most part, while I may disagree wholeheartedly with some opinions, its good to know that RT users are a classy, respectful group who are here to celebrate rather than to tear down or go for cheap shots.

It could also be that I'm drunk right now. But for the nonce, I'm just gonna give credit to RT and their users for being classy and respectful.

And I'm gonna be FORTY! someday!

Jun 27 - 12:51 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Then don't go to CNN or MSNBC because the comments there are horrible. Trolling at its best. I use to go to Fox News to read its comments section when I was bored, but they've removed their comment option. I truly think they did this because their community was so insane and it helped in giving them a bad name. RT is pretty good and they have been removing the spam relatively quickly.

Oh and I too, someday, will be FORTY! Someday...

Jun 27 - 03:55 AM

Mike L.

Mike L

"Morning Joe" on MSNBC was basically a tribute show to Ms. Ephron which was quite moving. Granted it's not the blog section and Joe is something of a whank yet everyone had nothing but heartfelt thoughts about her away from her celebrity status. She was quite a woman.

Jun 27 - 10:16 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

R.I.P. Nora. You made some of the only rom coms I could ever watch.

Jun 27 - 03:55 AM

Lisa Wodd

Lisa Wodd

Yes! Generally not a fan of the genre, but I love her films! I must have watched When Harry Met Sally 50 times. Smart, sassy, snappy, and (not too) sappy all at the same time - that was Ephron.

Jun 27 - 09:53 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Then don't go to CNN or MSNBC because the comments there are horrible. Trolling at its best. I use to go to Fox News to read its comments section when I was bored, but they've removed their comment option. I truly think they did this because their community was so insane and it helped in giving them a bad name. RT is pretty good and they have been removing the spam relatively quickly.

Oh and I too, someday, will be FORTY! Someday...

Jun 27 - 03:55 AM

Mike L.

Mike L

"Morning Joe" on MSNBC was basically a tribute show to Ms. Ephron which was quite moving. Granted it's not the blog section and Joe is something of a whank yet everyone had nothing but heartfelt thoughts about her away from her celebrity status. She was quite a woman.

Jun 27 - 10:16 AM

Epic Barney Funk

Barney Funk

She made some seriously amazing stuff. Another legend is gone, so who are we left with now?

Jun 27 - 04:43 AM

Donathn Hundley Jr

donathan hundley jr

RIP Nora!

Jun 27 - 04:46 AM

Kadeem S.

Kadeem Stewart

She's a great director and a great friend. R.I.P. Nora Ephron.

Jun 27 - 07:29 AM

Domen Kompare

Domen Kompare

:( Julie & Julia is one of my favourite movies. R.I.P. Nora, you will be missed. :( <3

Jun 27 - 08:46 AM

Mike L.

Mike L

"Morning Joe" on MSNBC was basically a tribute show to Ms. Ephron which was quite moving. Granted it's not the blog section and Joe is something of a whank yet everyone had nothing but heartfelt thoughts about her away from her celebrity status. She was quite a woman.

Jun 27 - 10:16 AM

Jacob

Jacob Grimm

An article published on the Wall Street Journal's website strongly suggests her to be alive but otherwise ill. Damn if this isn't confusing.

Jun 27 - 12:14 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Rest in peace!

Jun 27 - 01:34 PM

DickyBird

DP DuPont

Her best as writer: "When Harry Met Sally..." Without question.
Her best as director: I will say "Sleepless in Seattle", though I did enjoy Meryl Streep as Julia Child in "Julie & Julia".
Not her best: "Bewitched"...
Possible successor: Nancy Myers (maybe?)
Going over the Bridge in Manhattan now to have some pie.. So long, Nora.

Jun 27 - 04:23 PM

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