Jewish Screenwriter Nora Ephron Dead at 71

June 27, 2012  

The Oscar-nominated screenwriter Nora Ephron, 71, died Tuesday of pneumonia after a long battle with leukemia.

“It is with great sadness that we report that Nora Ephron has died,” reported publisher Alfred A. Knopf in a statement issued Wednesday. “She brought an awful lot of people a tremendous amount of joy. She will be sorely missed.”

Ephron, a native New Yorker, was born May 19, 1941 on the Upper West Side into a Jewish family of writers, the eldest of four sisters. Both parents were Hollywood screenwriters and all of her sisters followed into the family business as well.

Known for her witty blockbuster comedies such as “Sleepless in Seattle” and “When Harry Met Sally,” and the drama “Silkwood,” she was nominated for three Academy Awards. She also wrote “Heartburn”  and “You’ve Got Mail.”

Ephron also was a playwright, a movie director, and a prolific journalist and writer who authored books and essays. She also once served as a summer intern in the John F. Kennedy White House.

Known by friends and colleagues as “remarkable,” Nora Ephron was fussy about her hair. The New York Times reported that she made a point of having it professionally blow-dried twice a week, quoting an explanation that many women might agree with: “It’s cheaper by far than psychonanalysis and much more uplifting.”

She was married three times, and is survived by two sons and her three sisters, in addition to her husband, Nicholas Pileggi.

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