Nora Ephron Passes Away at Age 71

Posted Tuesday June 26, 2012 10:23 PM GMT

Making for quite saddening news, Nora Ephron has passed away at the age of 71.

The legendary Hollywood screenwriter and director is said to have been gravely ill leading up to her death, as reports tell that she was battling cancer.

Ephron, the eldest of four sisters, was born in New York City to screenwriter parents, who moved the family to Beverly Hills in California when she was four.

Despite her love of film, Ephron majored in political science at Wellesley College in Massachusetts and briefly worked as an intern in the White House during President John F. Kennedy's term in the early 1960s. She also served as a reporter at the New York Post and wrote for publications including Esquire and The New York Times Magazine.

Her film career took off in the 1980s when her second husband Carl Bernstein's affair with Margaret Jay, the daughter of British Prime Minister James Callaghan, inspired her to write the novel Heartburn, which she adapted for the big screen in 1986.

Nora went on to write the BAFTA-winning screenplay for beloved romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally, which became a hit film starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. The film also earned Ephron Academy Award and Writers Guild of America nominations.

She then made her directorial debut in 1992 with This Is My Life and reteamed with Ryan a year later for her first big success as a moviemaker, Sleepless in Seattle.

Ephron was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award in 1994, and branched into theatre in the 2000s - her play Imaginary Friends, which explored the rivalry between writers Lillian Hellman and Mary McCarthy, was a hit in 2002 and her co-authored production Love, Loss, and What I Wore was a sell-out in Canada, New York and California following its debut in 2008.

With film projects in more recent years having included 2005's Bewitched and Julie & Julia in 2009, Nora leaves the world while survived by her third husband, screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi, who she married in 1987, as well as sons Jacob and Max.

Photo Credit: Getty Images