The Washington Post is reporting that Nora Ephron has died after a battle with leukemia. She was 71.

Ephron was best known for her work on some of the most memorable romantic comedies in movie history, including "When Harry Met Sally..." and "Sleepless in Seattle" (she received Oscar nods for Best Screenplay on both).

Ephron began her career as a reporter for the New York Post, and later went on to pen essays for Esquire and New York magazines. She would get her first taste at screenwriting in the mid-1970s, when she ended up rewriting William Goldman's script for "All the President's Men" (Ephron's husband at the time was Carl Bernstein, whose Nixon Watergate scoop was the film's inspiration). The screenplay never ended up being used, but, as Ephron later told the Guardian, "It was a great way to learn, because Goldman was such a great screenwriter that just typing his stage directions taught me a huge amount."

In 1983, Ephron wrote her first film, "Silkwood." Starring Meryl Streep and directed by Mike Nichols, the movie told the true story of a woman who died in a suspicious car accident while looking into the wrongdoing at the plant she worked at (the script got Ephron her first Oscar nomination). Six years later, she wrote "When Harry Met Sally..." The rom-com, starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, is still considered a classic to this day.

Ephron's 1998 movie, "You've Got Mail" -- which she wrote, produced and directed -- turned out to be her most financially successful, grossing $250 million at the box office.

The last film Ephron worked on was 2009's "Julie and Julia," which she also wrote and directed.

Ephron's friend Liz Smith said that "[Nora] seemed never to want or expect anything, while always demanding the best from the rest of us. She was -- always -- right and somehow left the smartest, most ambitious and silliest of us in the dust at her feet."

According to her son Jacob Bernstein, Ephron's cause of death was pneumonia brought on by acute myeloid leukemia. She is survived by her husband, screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi, and her sons, Jacob and Max.

[via The Washington Post]

categories Movies