Screenwriter and director Nora Ephron has died in New York at the age of 71.
The much-loved Hollywood scribe has worked on dozens of romantic comedies, including When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, which she wrote, and Silkwood, You’ve Got Mail and Julie and Julia which she wrote and directed.
Ephron was nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar three times, for Silkwood (starring Meryl Streep and Cher), Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally, arguably Ephron’s most iconic script. Who could forget Billy Crystal’s Harry famously argue; ‘Men and women can never just be friends. Sex always gets in the way.’ Never was there a more adept statement to sum up modern romance.
Who didn’t love Meg Ryan as Sally, bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase high maintenance? ‘I’ll have a salad but with the dressing on the side.’
And, of course, the famous orgasm scene, where Sally ‘faked it’ to Harry in front of a packed New York deli, ending with onlooker Estelle Reiner (director Rob’s mother) delivering the film’s clincher; ‘I’ll have what she’s having.’
In 1993, Sleepless in Seattle paired together Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, an on-screen couple so popular that Ephron reunited them in 1998’s romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail, about an independent children’s bookshop overtaken by a powerful superstore.
2009’s Julie and Julia, based on the true story of a woman’s love of chef Julia Childs, earned star Meryl Streep an Best Actress Oscar nomination. It was Ephron’s last film. She died on Tuesday, surrounded by relatives at a Manhattan hospital, where she was undergoing treatment for acute myeloid leukemia, her family said in a statement. ‘She brought an awful lot of people a tremendous amount of joy,’ her publisher said in a statement. She will be sorely missed.’
The famous 'faking it' scene in When Harry Met Sally
Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle
Meryl Streep and Cher in Silkwood