Movie Talk

Nora Ephron, famed screenwriter and director, dies at 71

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(Photo: Dee Cercone/Everett Collection)

"When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle" and "Silkwood" screenwriter Nora Ephron has died, according to the Washington Post and CBS News. She was 71 years old and was said to be suffering from leukemia.

Known as a prolific writer spanning film, stage, novels, works of journalism and blogs, Ephron was also an accomplished filmmaker, having both written and directed "Julie & Julia" (2009), "Bewitched" (2005), "You've Got Mail" (1998), "Michael" (1996), "Mixed Nuts" (1994), "Sleepless in Seattle" (1993) and "This Is My Life" (1992). She was nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

[Photos: Nora Ephron's film career]

Born in 1941 in New York City to a writerly Jewish family, Ephron moved with her parents and three sisters to Beverly Hills when she was four. Both of her parents were screenwriters as are two of her sisters; and she has another sister who is a journalist and novelist.

Ephron majored in political science at Wellesley College but also wrote for the school paper, graduating in 1962. She interned at the White House during John F. Kennedy's administration and later became a reporter at the New York Post — eventually gaining praise for inserting her own voice into her work as part of the "New Journalism" movement.

Her 1983 novel "Heartburn" — which was later made into a film starring Meryl  Streep and Jack Nicholson — was inspired by her second marriage to famed Washington Post journalist Carl Bernstein (who helped break the Watergate story). Ephron is survived by her husband Nicholas Pileggi (writer of "Goodfellas") and two sons, Jacob and Max Bernstein.

Some actors appeared in Ephron-penned films multiple times:  Meryl Streep appeared in "Silkwood," "Heartburn" and "Julie & Julia"; Tom Hanks starred in "Sleepless in Seattle" and "You've Got Mail" as did Meg Ryan — who also starred in "When Harry Met Sally."

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