Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
The Schmooze

Filmmaker and Writer Nora Ephron Dies at 71

Screenwriter, film director, essayist, novelist and cultural figure Nora Ephron has died at age 71, The New York Times reports. The cause of death was pneumonia brought on by myeloid leukemia, a blood disorder from which she had been suffering for six years.

Ephron, best known for films like “When Harry Met Sally” (1989) and “You’ve Got Mail” (1998), was born on the Upper West Side of Manhattan to playwrights Henry and Phoebe Ephron. She was raised in Beverly Hills, Calif., before attending Wellesley college, where she got her start writing for the school newspaper.

After college Ephron worked for five years as a general assignment reporter at the New York Post before beginning a freelance career writing for magazines like New York and Esquire. Her pieces focused on cultural and feminist issues and were collected in books such as “Wallflower at the Orgy” (1970) and “Crazy Salad: Some Things About Women” (1975).

In 1976 Ephron married then-Washington Post journalist Carl Bernstein. She got into the movie business through an effort to rewrite the adaptation of Bernstein’s book, “All the President’s Men,” which he wrote with Bob Woodward about their coverage of the Watergate scandal.

Ephron and Bernstein were later divorced when Bernstein was caught having an affair with the wife of the British ambassador. Ephron turned the experience into a bestselling 1983 novel, “Heartburn,” and later into a movie of the same name starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson.

In 1987 Ephron married fellow journalist and screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi, who survives her. Her most recent film, “Julie & Julia,” which starred Meryl Streep as famed French cooking proponent Julia Child, was released in 2009.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.