Acclaimed screenwriter Nora Ephron dead at 71

Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:21am EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar-nominated screenwriter Nora Ephron, known for romantic comedies "When Harry Met Sally" and "Sleepless in Seattle," as well as books and essays, has died in New York after battling leukemia. She was 71.

Ephron, who had suffered from acute myeloid leukemia, died on Tuesday evening at New York's Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center surrounded by her family, they said in a statement.

Reactions poured in from around the arts and entertainment community for the screenwriter who delighted millions with her flair for comedy, romance and the ability to tackle serious subjects with insight.

"She brought an awful lot of people a tremendous amount of joy. She will be sorely missed," her publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, said in a statement.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called her death "a devastating one" for the city's arts and cultural community, and the Los Angeles-based Directors Guild of America called her "an inspiration for women filmmakers when there were few."

Writer and actress Carrie Fisher called Ephron "inspiring, intimidating, and insightful" and actor Martin Landau said she was "able to accomplish everything she set her mind to with great style."

Ephron, who often parlayed her own love life into movies like "Heartburn" and gave her acerbic take on aging in the 2010 essay collection, "I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections," had kept her illness largely private except for close friends and family.

"At some point, your luck is going to run out ... You are very aware with friends getting sick that it can end in a second," Ephron told Reuters in a 2010 interview while promoting the book.   Continued...

Nora Ephron poses for a portrait in her home in New York in this November 3, 2010, file photo. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files