Ephron grew up in Beverly Hills, made a name for herself as a journalist in New York, got into screenwriting via collaboration with then-husband Carl Bernstein on a version of “All the President’s Men,” and grew into what People magazine calls today “one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood as the creative force behind such blockbusters as ‘You’ve Got Mail,’ ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ and ‘When Harry Met Sally.'” Ephron reportedly had leukemia.
Her son Jacob Bernstein, a journalist, told the New York Times that Ephron died in New York of pneumonia brought on by acute myeloid leukemia.
The NYT news story calls Ephron a “wry woman of letters” and says she was “an essayist and humorist in the Dorothy Parker mold (only smarter and funnier, some said) who became one of her era’s most successful screenwriters and filmmakers.”
She graduated from Beverly Hills High School in 1958. Ephron is also survived by her sisters Delia, Amy and Hallie, another son Max, and husband Nicholas Pileggi, the writer.
From the NYT:
She was a journalist, a blogger, an essayist, a novelist, a playwright, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and a movie director — a rarity in a film industry whose directorial ranks were and continue to be dominated by men. More box-office success arrived with “You’ve Got Mail” and “Julie & Julia.” By the end of her life, though remaining remarkably youthful looking, she had even become something of a philosopher about age and its indignities.
“Why do people write books that say it’s better to be older than to be younger?” she wrote in “I Feel Bad About My Neck,” her 2006 best-selling collection of essays. “It’s not better. Even if you have all your marbles, you’re constantly reaching for the name of the person you met the day before yesterday.”
She turned her painful breakup with her second husband, the Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein, into a best-selling novel, “Heartburn,” which she then recycled into a successful movie starring Jack Nicholson as a philandering husband and Meryl Streep as a quick-witted version of Ms. Ephron herself.
Ephron’s parents, Phoebe and Henry Ephron, were a screenwriting team who wrote such films as “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “What Price Glory” and “Desk Set.”
Mark Lacter recommends a New Yorker piece by Ephron from last year: My life as an heiress