LOS ANGELES (AFP) ― Oscar-nominated Hollywood screenwriter Nora Ephron who penned such romantic comedies as “When Harry met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle” died Tuesday, U.S. media said. She was 71.
A noted American journalist, essayist, writer as well as producer and director, Ephron wrote and directed her last film “Julia and Julia” in 2009 in which she worked once more alongside her good friend Meryl Streep.
Her son Jacob Bernstein told the New York Times that his mother had died of pneumonia brought on by acute myeloid leukemia.
Ephron was born on May 19, 1941 in New York, the daughter of a Broadway playwright and Hollywood screenwriter, who told her to “take notes. Everything is copy.”
She was eventually to become the queen of Hollywood romantic comedies, but her writing career began in journalism. In her early years she wrote for Esquire and New York Magazine, the New York Post and the New York Times.
But she graduated onto writing novels and then parlayed them into successful film scripts, many drawn from her own experiences.
In the 1983 “Silkwood” starring Streep, Ephron tapped into the 1980s Cold War fear of a nuclear Holocaust. Her novel “Heartburn” was based on her marriage to Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein, becoming a movie in 1986.
But it was for her romantic comedies that she was to become best known, and in particular the 1989 “When Harry met Sally” starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, for which she won an Oscar nomination, and 1993’s “Sleepless in Seattle.”
Two more Oscar nominations followed ― for “You’ve Got Mail” and “Silkwood.”