Oscar-nominated screenwriter Nora Ephron, known for romantic comedies When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, has died in New York at the age of 71. Ephron, who had suffered from acute myeloid leukemia, died at New York’s Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center surrounded by her family, they said in a statement.
Reactions poured in from around the arts and entertainment community for the screenwriter who delighted millions with her flair for comedy, romance and the ability to tackle serious subjects with insight. “She brought an awful lot of people a tremendous amount of joy. She will be sorely missed,” her publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, said in a statement.
Writer and actor Carrie Fisher called Ephron “inspiring, intimidating, and insightful” and actor Martin Landau said she was “able to accomplish everything she set her mind to with great style.”
Ephron, who often parlayed her own love life into movies like Heartburn and gave her acerbic take on aging in the 2010 essay collection I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections, had kept her illness largely private except for close friends and family. “At some point, your luck is going to run out. You are very aware with friends getting sick that it can end in a second,” Ephron told Reuters in a 2010 interview.
Ephron urged aging friends and readers to make the most of their lives. “You should eat delicious things while you can still eat them, go to wonderful places while you still can and not have evenings where you say to yourself, ‘What am I doing here? Why am I here? I am bored witless!’.”
She began her career as a journalist but transitioned into movies, leaving behind a legacy of more than a dozen films, often featuring strong female characters. She was nominated for three Academy Awards for Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and the drama Silkwood.
Other romantic comedies included You’ve Got Mail, starring Meg Ryan, and her last film Julie & Julia in 2009, which had Streep portraying the fearless celebrity cook Julia Child.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2012.
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