Nora Ephron

Active - 1925 - 2009  |   Born - May 19, 1941 in New York, New York, United States  |   Died - Jun 26, 2012   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Romance

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Biography by AllMovie

The daughter of author/screenwriters Phoebe and Henry Ephron, Nora Ephron was educated at Wellesley. She first made her mark as humorist, satirist, and dead-on parodist in book form (Crazy Salad) and in magazine articles. Ephron's first movie assignment was the Oscar-nominated screenplay for Silkwood (1983). Her stormy marriage to Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein provided grist for her roman a clef Heartburn, which she adapted into an uneven 1986 film directed by Mike Nichols

Ephron struck gold with her script for the blockbuster When Harry Met Sally... (1989) and kept turning out work in the romantic comedy vein until her death. After a few so-so writing and producing assignments, she made her directing bow with This Is My Life (1992), which she co-wrote with sister Delia Ephron. She then served as director and writer of Sleepless in Seattle, one of the highest-grossing releases of 1993. Five years later, she re-teamed with Sleepless stars Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan for You've Got Mail; another New York-based romantic comedy, it was one of the most successful films of 1998. The following year, Ephron and sister Delia collaborated on Hanging Up, a comedy-drama based on a novel of Delia's. The story of three sisters who pull together to cope with the imminent death of their father (Walter Matthau), it starred Diane Keaton, Meg Ryan, and Lisa Kudrow. She then had a pair of lackluster directorial outings with Lucky Numbers and a big-screen meta remake of the supernatural sitcom Bewitched. But her 2009 film Julie & Julia - which Ephron scripted, directed and produced - was a box office hit and earned Meryl Streep an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

Ephron passed away on June 26, 2012 after a lengthy battle with leukemia.

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  • Her parents, well-known writers, used her letters home from Wellesley as inspiration for the 1961 Broadway play Take Her, She's Mine.
  • Worked as a White House intern during John F. Kennedy's administration in 1961.
  • Moved to New York after college and began writing columns and essays for publications including the New York Post, Esquire and New York Magazine.
  • Published her essays in collections that included Crazy Salad (1975) and Scribble Scribble (1978).
  • Wrote the novel Heartburn following the breakup of her marriage to journalist Carl Bernstein. The book was later adapted into a 1986 film starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson.
  • Despite past experience with unhappy marriages, she became known for penning romantic comedies, beginning with the classic When Harry Met Sally (1990).
  • Has cowritten numerous films with her screenwriter sister Delia, including This Is My Life (1991), Michael (1996), You've Got Mail (1998), Hanging Up (2000) and Bewitched (2005).
  • Received an honorary diploma from the renowned Parisian cooking school Le Cordon Bleu after writing, producing and directing the film Julie & Julia (2009).