Norah Ephron dies at 71

Acclaimed screen writer Norah Ephron famous for her romantic comedies “When Harry met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle” as well as other books and essays died at the age of 71 in New York while battling with leukemia. She was suffering from acute myeloid leukemia and succumbed to the disease on Tuesday evening at the Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York whilst being surrounded by her family.

The reactions from the arts and entertainment community poured in and people expressed their sadness over the talented screenwriters’ demise. She had captured the hearts of millions with her flair for comedy and romance. She had the ability to tackle serious subjects with insight and according to actress and writer Carrie Fisher she was “inspiring, intimidating, and insightful”. Her Publisher said in a statement, “She brought an awful lot of people a tremendous amount of joy. She will be sorely missed”.  New York Mayor called her death ‘a devastating one’ for the arts and cultural community while the LA based Directors Guild of America called her and inspiration for women filmmakers at a time when there were just a few. She used to portray her love-life in movies like “Heartburn” and had given her take on aging in her 2010 essay collection “I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections”.  She had kept her illness private except for close friends and family and constantly used to urge her aging friends and readers to make the most of their lives.

Born on May 19th 1941 to screen writer parents in New York, she was raised in Beverly Hills and worked as a White House intern before trying her hand at journalism. She later transitioned into movies leaving behind a legacy of more than a dozen films featuring strong female characters. She was nominated thrice for the Academy Awards for “Harry met Sally”, “Sleepless in Seattle” and drama “Silkwood”. She became known as a humorist with essays ranging from food and fashion to feminism. Her other famous movies include “You’ve Got Mail” and “Julie and Julia”. She also wrote for the stage authoring a play in 2002 called “Imaginary Friends” and one in 2009 called “Love, Loss and What I Wore”. Though her movies made millions in dollars worldwide she never got the top honor, an Academy Award. After a string of box-office flops in 2000 she concentrated mostly on essays and blogging for the Huffington Post. In 2006 her essay “I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman” became a best-seller on the New York Times list and she had a movie in development about singer Peggy Lee starring Reese Witherspoon. She was married thrice and is now survived by her husband of 20 years, Nicholas Pileggi, also a writer and two children with Carl Bernstein.

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