New York Daily News


‘Harry Met Sally’ writer Ephron is dead at 71

- BY JOANNA MOLLOY and SHERRYL CONNELLY jmolloy@nydailynew­

‘When Harry Met Sally’ writer loses cancer battle

MOVIE FANS AND movie stars are mourning the death of screenwrit­er, director and essayist Nora Ephron, who succumbed to pneumonia Tuesday after a battle with leukemia.

“She was the one you wanted to read, to listen to, to be in the company of,” Steve Martin tweeted of the 71-year-old wit. “Sadness reigns.”

Ephron’s death came as a shock to many since she had hidden her illness from the public.

“In the entertainm­ent world, you can never admit being sick,” said writer Gay Talese, cousin of her third husband, Nick Pileggi.

He noted that not long before her death, Ephron had completed a play, “Lucky Guy,” about the late Daily News columnist Mike McAlary, to be played by Tom Hanks on Broadway.

“No year of her life, no month, was without some kind of accomplish­ment,” Talese said. “She never had a period of downtime.”

There was an outpouring of praise from actors who starred in the hit movies the former journalist wrote or directed, including “When Harry Met Sally” (1989), “Sleepless in Seattle” (1993) and “You’ve Got Mail” (1998).

“I was very lucky to say her words,” said Billy Crystal, who costarred as Harry to Meg Ryan’s Sally.

“In a world where we’re told that you can’t have it all, Nora consistent­ly proved that adage wrong,” actress and writer Carrie Fisher said.

“A writer, director, wife, mother, chef, wit — there didn’t seem to be anything she couldn’t do . . . She was so, so alive. It makes no sense to me that she isn’t anymore.”

On Twitter, Mayor Bloomberg said her death was a loss for the city she had long called home.

“Nora Ephron always loved a good New York story, and she could tell them like no one else. NYC will miss her very much,” he wrote.

Ephron began her career as a journalist for the New York Post in the 1960s, but gained wide attention for her humorous essays for Esquire.

Her work was collected in the best-selling books “Wallflower at the Orgy,” “Crazy Salad: Some Things About Women,” and the more recent “I Feel Bad About My Neck” and “i Remember Nothing.”

Relentless­ly social, she was often seen at the writers clubhouse Elaine’s, or hosting inner-circle dinner parties at her majestic upper West Side apartment building, the Apthorp.

The daughter of two screenwrit­ers, she went Hollywood first as a writer for the 1983 film “Silkwood,” starring Meryl Streep, which earned her the first of three Academy award nomination­s.

Born in New York, she grew up in California, then moved back after graduating from Wellesley. In 1976, she moved to Washington to be with Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein, but the marriage infamously ended when he had an affair, which she chronicled in “Heartburn.”

Bernstein is the father of Ephron’s two sons, Jacob, a journalist, and Max, a musician.

In 1987, Ephron married Pileggi, the author of the book “Wiseguy,” about gangster Henry Hill, which was adapted for the movies as “Goodfellas.”

Friends and family were set to gather Wednesday at their home. On Thursday, there will be a memorial service — scripted, naturally, by Ephron.

“Long before she knew she was going to die, she planned her departure,” Talese said. “What kind of music, who were going to be speakers, etcetera.”

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 ??  ?? Journalist-turnedscre­enwriter Nora Ephron, who wrote classic romantic comedies such as “When Harry Met Sally” and “You’ve Got Mail,” has died.
Journalist-turnedscre­enwriter Nora Ephron, who wrote classic romantic comedies such as “When Harry Met Sally” and “You’ve Got Mail,” has died.

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