Writer & Director Nora Ephron Passes Away at 71

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 24th, 2014 at 12:12 pm,

Nora Ephron Obituary Writer & Director Nora Ephron Passes Away at 71

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.

When Harry Met Sally Nora Ephron Writer & Director Nora Ephron Passes Away at 71

Meg Ryan in ‘When Harry Met Sally’

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.


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  1. Havent seen when harry meets sally, but i,loved sleepless.

  2. While I have seen and enjoyed many of her films, it’s one of her less known movies that holds a special place within our family. Every Christmas we watch the sheer lunacy of Mixed Nuts, it is as much a tradition as putting up the Christmas tree.

    I know many men would call her films “chick flicks” but in my book they transend gender. Thank you Nora for your contribution to cinema, you showed that human emotion can be the most special effect of all.

  3. A beautiful article for a talented woman.

  4. I’d like to point out that Nora herself, much like her movies, seemed to age well. I mean, look at that pic of her in front of the Julie & Julia poster. She had to be in her late 60’s and she could pass for middle-aged.

  5. This is sad news.
    When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless In Seattle were great great films that were bigger than any screen they played on. They crossed over from just films to become part of the culture in the late 80’s & early 90’s.

  6. When Harry Met Sally is one of my all time favorite films. First time I watched it, it went right in my top ten. What a great comedy.

    I know the famous “I’ll have what she’s having” scene gets the most publicity, but my favorite part of the movie is the opening sequence when they’re driving from Chicago to New York after college graduation. That whole sequence set up the film perfectly and established the characters in a funny way. I could watch that every day and still laugh at it.

    RIP, Nora Ephron