The romantic comedy is frequently derided form, but Ephron's efforts in the genre captured the zeitgeist and transcended rom-com tropes with smart dialogue and well-realized, humane, relatable characters. As a writer, she's perhaps best-known for When Harry Met Sally..., the funny and insightful Rob Reiner-directed romance starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal which remains a benchmark for contemporary cinematic romance and earned Ephron an Oscar nomination. Another Oscar nomination came from he co-writing and directorial blockbuster Sleepless in Seattle, which was comparable to When Harry Met Sally... as a love story that became a pop-cultural fixture. In 1998, she reteamed Sleepless stars Tom Hanks and Ryan in You've Got Mail.
Most recently, Ephron wrote and directed Amy Adams and Meryl Streep in 2009's Julie & Julia, chronicling a young chef's idolization of Julia Childs, as well as Childs' professional start.
Though it wasn't a commercial success on the level of Sleepless in Seattle, the 1994 holiday ensemble comedy Mixed Nuts has long been an unconventional but perennial Christmas favorite around my house. My Blue Heaven, which Ephron scripted, is also fondly remembered as a showcase for Steve Martin as a Manhattan mafioso enduring witness protection in suburban California.
Born in 1941 in New York City, Nora Ephron was raised in Beverly Hills, and attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts. After graduating, Ephron briefly worked as an intern in the John F. Kennedy White House before serving as a reporter for the New York Post and a columnist for a number of magazines, including Esquire. Her four-year second marriage, to Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein, served as a loose inspiration for Heartburn, her first novel. Ephron eventually wrote the screenplay for the 1986 adaptatin of the novel, starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson. Before that, though, her first feature credit, 1983's Silkwood, was also her first Oscar nomination.
Ephron will be sorely missed by her family, friends, and audiences everywhere.