Screenwriter and director Nora Ephron, whose smart romantic comedies made her a Hollywood legend, has died at the age of 71. Ephron passed away from complications related to the blood disorder myelodysplasia, which she was diagnosed with in 2006.
Ephron is best known for writing the 1989 film When Harry Met Sally and also for writing and directing the 1993 film Sleepless in Seattle. (Both films are ranked in the American Film Institute’s Top Ten Romantic Comedies of all time.) Most recently, Ephron wrote and directed the critically-acclaimed 2009 film Julie & Julia.
Outside of her film career, Ephron was also known for her work as a journalist in the 1960s and her marriage to journalist Carl Bernstein, who, along with Bob Woodward, was responsible for breaking the Watergate scandal in the 1970s. Interestingly, it was Ephron’s work rewriting William Goldman’s screenplay for All the President’s Men, which details the Watergate scandal, that helped launch her career in Hollywood.
One of the things that made Ephron such a successful filmmaker was the way her movies were both modern and old-fashioned at the same time. She was able to capture a certain sweetness and simplicity that recalled movies from the 1950s, while delivering witty dialogue that reflected the times.
Ephron was also incredibly successful at making movies that transcended time. Consider When Harry Met Sally. The film is 23 years old, but it’s still beloved by women (and men) around the world. If you don’t laugh at the punchline of Meg Ryan’s famous diner scene, then you’ve got problems.
In an industry dominated by men, Ephron stood out not by being a writer and director of “chick flicks,” but for creating compelling characters, telling moving stories, and making audiences laugh, cry, and cheer time and time again. Her legacy as one of Hollywood’s greats will not soon be forgotten.
Ephron is survived by her sons and her third husband, author and screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi.
Screen Rant would like to express our sincere condolences to the friends and family of Nora Ephron in this difficult time.
R.I.P. Nora Ephron: May 19th, 1941 – June 26th, 2012.