Her blockbuster romantic comedies “When Harry Met Sally,” “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail” made Meg Ryan a star. On the opposite spectrum of her screenwriting and directing career Meryl Streep was there for her stellar biopics. They included “Silkwood,” “Heartburn” and more recently “Julie and Julia.” It was the latter two films that earned Streep some of her multitude of Oscar nominations.
Nora Ephron, 71, passed away in New York City on Tuesday night after her battle with cancer, states Reuters. She suffered from acute myeloid leukemia. While her films starred the biggest names in Hollywood she had an illustrious career in journalism. Ephron delved into other writing projects throughout her life. These are other facts you may not know.
* Born in New York City on May 19, 1941, the family moved to Beverly Hills when she was 4 years old. She’s the eldest of four children, reports the Associated Press.
* Her parents, Harry and Phoebe Ephron, were also screenwriters who entertained some of Hollywood’s Golden Age elite in their home. “Casablanca” co-writer Julius J. Epstein, “Sunset Boulevard” collaborator Charles Brackett, and the team of Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich, who worked on “It’s a Wonderful Life” were regular visitors.
* Nora’s first job after graduating from the single-sex Wellesley College in 1962 interning at the White House during the Kennedy Administration.
*The only encounter she had with the “ladies man” president was before Kennedy took off on the Marine One helicopter. He asked ‘How are you coming along?’ Ephron recalled her response was “What?” due to the loud noise from the helicopter, “That was it. That was it — me and JFK,” according to ABC News.
* Working as a reporter and columnist in New York she eventually returned to Washington, where she met and married Carl Bernstein. He was part of the journalistic team who broke wide open the Watergate scandal, leading to Richard Nixon’s resignation.
* It was the feature film “All The President’s Men” where Nora got her first taste with screenwriting. Her script version was never used and her marriage to Bernstein crumbled.
* “Heartburn” was first a novel published in 1983 by Ephron based loosely on her tumultuous marriage to Bernstein. It eventually led to her foray into films as a screenwriter, director and producer.
* After a series of box office flops in 2000 she turned to other writing projects that entailed becoming a playwright. One of her works featured was the 2002 play “Imaginary Friends” about rival authors Mary McCarthy and Lillian Hellman. Her sister Delia collaborated on “Love, Loss and What I Wore” in 2009.
* In 2006 she came out with an essay collection “I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman” which became a bestseller on the New York Times list.
* Ephron’s sisters Amy, Delia and Hallie are also screenwriters. Nora is survived by her two children and husband, author Nicholas Pileggi. His book was adapted into the Scorsese film “Goodfellas.”