- Last Updated: 11:16 PM, June 26, 2012
- Posted: 6:22 PM, June 26, 2012
Author, director and screenwriter Nora Ephron, whose films include "Sleepless in Seattle," "You've Got Mail" and "When Harry Met Sally" and whose dry writing sliced and diced such topics as errant husbands and aging gracefully, died Tuesday in a New York hospital at the age of 71.
Ephron, who was nominated for three Academy Awards, died from complications from the blood disorder myelodysplasia, with which she was diagnosed six years ago.
Born May 19, 1941 in New York, the eldest of four daughters of screenwriter parents, she grew up in Beverly Hills.
Supposedly, her parents based a lead female character in their work "Take Her, She's Mine" on then 22-year-old Nora.
A graduate of Wellesley College, she started as a mail girl at Newsweek before becoming a reporter for the New York Post and then a regular columnist for Esquire.
Her essays -- in particular one about breasts -- brought her national acclaim and were collected into three books: "Wallflower at the Orgy," "Crazy Salad" and "Scribble Scribble."
Turning to screenwriting, she specialized in romantic comedies, including "When Harry Met Sally" (1989), "Sleepless in Seattle" (1993) and "You've Got Mail" (1998). Her 2009 film "Julie and Julia" dealt with another of her favorite topics, food.
More recently, Ephron published a collection of essays about aging, "I Remember Nothing," in 2010 and co-wrote -- with her sister Delia -- the play "Love, Loss and What I Wore."
"I try to write parts for women that are as complicated and interesting as women actually are," she once said.
Her latest project was the Broadway play "Lucky Guy," which tells the story of Mike McAlary, the newspaper columnist who died of cancer in 1998 at the age of 41.
Ephron was married three times, most famously to Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein, who was her second husband, about whom she later wrote the scathing novel "Heartburn," which also was made into a film.
She is survived by her husband of more than 20 years, writer Nicholas Pileggi, and two sons, Jacob and Max Bernstein.