Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Novelist/Screenwriter Nora Ephron Dead at 71

Award-winning novelist, screenwriter and director Nora Ephron has passed away in New York City at the age of 71.

Ephron carved out a highly-successful career for herself in Hollywood, writing the screenplays for some of the most popular comedies of the past several decades, including When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle.

She began her journalistic career writing essays for periodicals and magazines, before trying her hand at novel-writing. Ephron admitted her 1983 bestseller Heartburn was loosely based on her marriage to Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein and detailed his alleged infidelities during the course of their marriage. The novel was later made into a film starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson, with Ephron writing the screenplay.

She would find her niche in writing movie scripts. She wrote the script for the Academy Award nominated film Silkwood, which would star Streep along with Cher and Kurt Russell. Her biggest success would come with her romantic comedies-dubbed "chick flicks" by the mass media. When Harry Met Sally was a huge financial success at the box office, catapulting former As the World Turns actress Meg Ryan into international super-stardom. Sleepless in Seattle was also a mammoth box office smash around the world, pairing Ryan once again with her popular co-star Tom Hanks.

More recently, she experienced success with Streep yet again in Julie & Julia, with the actress emoting as chef Julia Child (and earning yet another Oscar nomination). Her bestselling memoir I Feel Bad About My Neck And Other Thoughts About Being a Woman published in 2007 detailed her own insecurities about Hollywood and her appearance as she aged in a town that does not allow for aging.

Ephron passed away of pneumonia brought on by acute myeloid leukemia, her son Jacob Bernstein told The New York Times. She is survived by her third husband, Goodfellas screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi, and her two sons with ex-husband Carl Bernstein.

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