Filmmaker Nora Ephron dies, aged 71

The writer of 'When Harry Met Sally' has passed away after a battle with acute myeloid leukaemia

Screenwriter and director Nora Ephron has passed away at the age of 71.

She died of pneumonia triggered by acute myeloid leukaemia, her son Jacob Bernstein told the New York Times. Her publisher Albert A. Knopf confirmed her passing in a statement, saying: “She brought an awful lot of people a tremendous amount of joy. She will be sorely missed.”

Ephron made her name writing the screenplay for the 1989 romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally. She later wrote and directed numerous hit films, including 1993’s Sleepless in Seattle, 1998’s You’ve Got Mail and the 2005 big screen version of Bewitched. Her final film was 2009’s Julie & Julia, which starred Meryl Streep as US celebrity chef Julia Childs.

Streep, who also starred in Ephron’s 1986 film Heartburn, paid tribute to the late filmmaker, saying: “Nora just looked at every situation and cocked her head and thought, ‘Hmmmm, how can I make this more fun?'”. When Harry Met Sally star Billy Crystal said he was “very sad to learn of Nora’s passing” and called her a “brilliant writer and humorist”.

Ephron was nominated for an Oscar three times, but never won. However, she collected a BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay for When Harry Met Sally.

Born in New York on May 19, 1941, Ephron worked as a magazine and newspaper journalist before writing her first film screenplay in 1983. As well as making 15 films, Ephron wrote several collections of humorous essays. I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections, her most recent book, was published in 2010.

Ephron is survived by her third husband, author and screenwriter Richard Pileggi, and two children.