R.I.P. Nora Ephron

One of the most distinct female writer/directors in the business, Nora Ephron, has sadly passed away at the age of 71 from pneumonia. The pneumonia was a complication resulting from acute myeloid leukemia which she has been quietly battling since her diagnosis in 2006.

Ephron pretty much set the standard template for contemporary romantic comedies and, more importantly, has been a signature voice for women in movies. In times when film studios and producers almost never actively pursued films either made by or for women, she helped break through many of those barriers.

Starting out as a journalist for the likes of Esquire and The New York Times Magazine, Ephron began her foray into cinema penning an unused draft for 1976’s “All The President’s Men” which lead to the TV movie “Perfect Gentlemen” and then the Meryl Streep-led “Silkwood” which earned Ephron an Oscar nomination.

She re-teamed with Streep on 1986’s “Heartburn” based on Ephron’s own memoir following her divorce from her second husband – journalist Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame. In fact Ephron was said to be one of the few who knew the identity of ‘Deep Throat’ for many years before he stepped forward and revealed himself to be Mark Felt. In 1987 she wed screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi with whom she remained married up until her death.

In 1989 her career really hit its stride with Rob Reiner’s much adored “When Harry Met Sally”, followed by successes with the likes of “Sleepless in Seattle” in 1993, “You’ve Got Mail” in 1998, and “Julie and Julia” in 2009. Other credits include “My Blue Heaven,” “Mixed Nuts,” “Michael,” “Bewitched,” “This is My Life,” “Cookie,” and “Hanging Up”.

Ephron is survived by Pileggi, three sisters, two sons, and a large fan base who will deeply miss this charming, self-deprecating and savvy woman who wrote relatable female protagonists struggling with daily life issues but often had extraordinary insight about their own problems.