Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nora Ephron Dead at 71

Nora Ephron

Most people remember When Harry Met Sally, the quirky romantic-comedy that dealt with the ever-lingering question of whether those of the opposite sex could be “just friends.” We learned, in this case, that they could start off as friends and become more. And when Harry professed his love to Sally by telling her that he loves that she takes an hour to order a simple sandwich, it left many women saying “I’ll have what she’s having.”

This was one of the many works by writer, producer, director, and three-time Academy Award nominee Nora Ephron, who passed away Tuesday in New York from complications brought on by her struggle with leukemia. She was 71.

Ephron was born on May 19, 1941, in New York City to screenwriter parents, Henry and Phoebe Ephron. The oldest of four daughters, the Ephrons relocated to Beverly Hills, California in 1945. She attended and graduated from Beverly Hills High School in 1958 and graduated from Wellesley College in Massachusetts in 1962, majoring in political science.

Ephron was a respected screenwriter and filmmaker, generating hits like You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle. She often created quirky yet strong female leads and storylines that became pop-culture hallmarks. Her first screenplay was Silkwood about a plutonium processing plant whistleblower who went missing, allegedly murdered to prevent her from exposing blatant working violations. Her latest work was Julie and Julia, which she wrote, directed and produced in 2009, starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep.

Ephron also opened windows into her personal struggles with her novel Heartburn, which was also made into a film starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson. The book was based on her tempestuous marriage to Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein, famous for his exposure of the Watergate scandal. In it, she wrote, “I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world's greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.”

Silkwood, 1983 (co-wrote)
When Harry Met Sally, 1989
Sleepless in Seattle, 1993 (co-wrote and directed)
You’ve Got Mail, 1998 film (co-wrote and directed)
Julie & Julia, 2009 (wrote and directed)

Heartburn, 1983 (turned into the 1986 movie)
I Feel Bad About My Neck: and Other Thoughts On Being a Woman, 2006
I Remember Nothing: And other Reflections, 2010

Imaginary Friends, 2003
Love, Loss, and What I Wore, 2009 (co-written with sister Delia Ephron, based on the 1995 book by Ilene Beckerman)

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