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Thread: Filmmaker and author Nora Ephron dies at 71, Hollywood Mourns!

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    Unhappy Filmmaker and author Nora Ephron dies at 71, Hollywood Mourns!

    Journalist, author, playwright, filmmaker, and three-time Oscar nominee Nora Ephron passed away Tuesday night at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, after a battle with acute myeloid leukemia. “She brought an awful lot of people a tremendous amount of joy,” said publisher Alfred A. Knopf in a statement. She was 71.




    The seeds for Ephron’s trailblazing career as a pop-culture polymath arguably began soon after her birth in New York City in 1941. She was the first of four daughters to Henry and Pheobe Ephron, who were successful screenwriters for films like Carousel and There’s No Business Like Show Business. They based their play Take Her, She’s Mine on their eldest daughter’s experiences in college. (It was adapted into a feature film starring Jimmy Stewart and Sandra Dee in the Nora Ephron role.)


    After graduating from Wellesley, Ephron became one of the leading female voices of the New Journalism movement of the 1960s, writing for the New York Post, The New York Times Magazine, New York, and Esquire. Her second marriage, to famed Washington Post Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein, helped launch her move into screenwriting after she worked with her husband to rewrite William Goldman’s script for All the President’s Men. That script was never used, but it ultimately led to a gig co-writing the 1983 Meryl Streep docudrama Silkwood, and Ephron’s first Oscar nomination for best original screenplay.


    Ephron turned her acrimonious divorce from Bernstein into the novel Heartburn, which she adapted for the 1986 film of the same name, starring Streep and Jack Nicholson. But it was her script for Rob Reiner’s megahit 1989 romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally… that vaulted Ephron into the top tier of feature screenwriters (and won her second Oscar nod). Recognizing her rare place as a powerful woman in Hollywood, Ephron followed up the film with her directorial debut, 1992’s This Is My Life, starring Julie Kavner as a struggling stand-up comic and co-written with her sister Delia, a regular collaborator. The film flopped, but Ephron’s next film as a director, 1993’s Sleepless in Seattle, was a massive hit, grossing $228 million worldwide and earning Ephron her third Oscar nomination.



    Along with re-teaming Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan for You’ve Got Mail, Ephron went on to work with Steve Martin (in Mixed Nuts), John Travolta (in Michael and Lucky Numbers), Nicole Kidman (in the ill-fated Bewitched), and Meryl Streep again, in Ephron’s last film, 2009’s Julie & Julia. In the final decade of her life, Ephron branched out beyond filmmaking, penning Broadway plays and blogging for the Huffington Post. Her latest project reflected her lifelong interest in telling the stories of real people: Lucky Guy, a play about the late Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Mike McAlary, recently announced as Tom Hanks’ Broadway debut.


    Ephron is survived by her husband, writer Nicholas Pileggi, and her sons Jacob and Max Bernstein. In a statement, her family requested that donations can be made in her honor to The Public Theater and The Motion Picture and Television Fund.
    take care!

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    Filmmaker and author Nora Ephron died, leaving behind a huge legacy of films, as well as many friends and colleagues in Hollywood.

    Here are their thoughts and memories of Ephron:



    “Nora was a person whose gifts of mind, amply displayed as a young person in her sharply observed journalistic pieces and in her personal wit, were, when I first met her, kind of scary: aimed and airy at the same time, an insouciant sharpness that could be intimidating, because you could never catch her ‘trying’, everything seemed effortless. But as I got to know her, I understood what drove her was her acute curiosity, and her desire to observe and find out stuff. It’s what made her great as a journalist, and as a director, too. She thought fast, loved new ideas, processed swiftly, decided what was valuable and what was not with clarity. It’s hard to credit how very smart she was, cause she was always deflectively feminine and funny, the sharpness of mind softened and smoothed by genuine charm.” — Meryl Streep, star of Silkwood (co-written by Ephron) and Julie & Julia (written and directed by Ephron)




    “Nora Ephron was a journalist/artist who knew what was important to know; how things really worked, what was worthwhile, who was fascinating and why. At a dinner table and on a film set she lifted us all with wisdom and wit mixed with love for us and love for life. Rita and I are so very sad to lose our friend who brought so much joy to all who were lucky enough to know her…” — Tom Hanks, star of You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle, both co-written and directed by Ephron




    “Nora was a joy to be around; she was so smart, warm and funny. I am so grateful that she was my friend and we had the opportunity to work together. My thoughts and love are with her family at this time. I will never forget the dinners, games and laughter we all shared.” — Nicole Kidman, star of Bewitched, co-written and directed by Ephron






    “What kind of a place is this? I feel like someone reached in and grabbed my compass from around my neck and threw it from a moving train. How will I navigate? I think a lot of friends and readers will feel like that. Nora was so funny and interesting that we didn’t notice that she was necessary. She is absolutely irreplaceable” — Mike Nichols, director of Silkwood and Heartburn, both written by Ephron




    “Nora was an era. We pictured ourselves inside her dreams and they became ours. All wisdom, wit and sparkle lights, what a treat she was, what a blessing. I marvel again and again, what a life… To have created a simple happiness in people, to have added to the sum of delight in the world.” — Meg Ryan (pictured, right, with Ephron), star of When Harry Met Sally… (written by Ephron), Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail




    “I suppose you could say Nora was my ideal. In a world where we’re told that you can’t have it all, Nora consistently proved that adage wrong. A writer, director, wife, mother, chef, wit — there didn’t seem to be anything she couldn’t do. And not just do it, but excel at it, revolutionize it, set the bar for every other screenwriter, novelist, director. She was inspiring, intimidating, and insightful. She was so, so alive. It makes no sense to me that she isn’t anymore. My heart goes out to her family and the many others who treasured her.” — Carrie Fisher, costar of When Harry Met Sally…

    take care!

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    "I try to write parts for women that are as complicated and interesting as women actually are." --Nora Ephron

    R. I. P. Nora Ephron!
    take care!

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