Nora Ephron dead at 71: Writer and director succumbs to cancer

nora-ephron-dead-getty.jpgOn Tuesday, June 26, a rep for Nora Ephron confirmed that the leukemia-stricken author was gravely ill and not expected to make it through the night. Indeed, she passed away later that evening. Her husband, writer Nicholas Pileggi, and two sons Jacob and Max Bernstein from a previous marriage, were with her. A funeral is planned for Thursday.

The Hollywood legend is best known for her contributions to the romantic comedy genre. After writing "Sleepless in Seattle," she went on to write and direct both "When Harry Met Sally" and "You've Got Mail." She was nominated for three Academy Awards for writing "Sleepless," "When Harry Met Sally," and her first film, "Silkwood."

Ephron was born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles in a family of writers. Both her parents were screenwriters, as are her sisters Delia and Amy. Her sister Hallie is a journalist and novelist. Ephron attended Wellesley College.

Her first marriage, to writer Dan Greenburg, lasted nine years. In 1976 Ephron married Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame. Their marriage ended messily while she was pregnant with their second son Max after she heard of Bernstein's affair -- she later channeled the experience into a novel, "Heartburn." It went on to be adapted into a film with Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson. In 1987, she married Pileggi, whose book "Wiseguy" was the basis for the movie "Goodfellas."

Most recently, Ephron enjoyed success with the 2009 film "Julie & Julia," the story of legendary chef Julia Child (Streep) and cooking blogger Julie Powell (Amy Adams), based on Powell's book.
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