Nora Ephron, known for her sweetly funny romantic comedies and wryly humorous essays about issues that didn't used to be amusing, died last night in Manhattan.
Ms. Ephron came from a family of writers. Her parents were both screenwriters. All three sisters -- Delia, Amy, and Hallie -- are authors. She took her familial destiny and ran with it, to the delight of her fans, friends, and loved ones.
Ironically, her first script to bring her fame was the serious film, Silkwood (1983), a devastating look at the life and death of Karen Silkwood. The film starred Meryl Streep and Kurt Russell.
That same year, Ms. Ephron turned the agony of the adultery of her second husband, Carl Bernstein into Heartburn, a very successful, very funny book and, three years later, movie.
In 1989, America couldn't get enough of Ephron's hilarious romcom, When Harry Met Sally, in which Meg Ryan's public display of noisy fake bliss is forever immortalized in the line delivered by director Rob Reiner's mother, Estelle Reiner, who muttered, "I'll have what she's having."
Two more romcoms were huge box office successes. Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and You've Got Mail (1998) both starred Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.
Women of a certain age hailed Ms. Ephron's chuckly outing of formerly tabboo topics -- wrinkles, small cup size, memory all received the Ephron treatment, especially in I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman.
The online blog Huffington Post paid enormous tribute to Ms. Ephron, who was one of their top-tier bloggers.
Ms. Ephron, who was 71, died of acute myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood disorder which can be an offshoot of chemotherapy. MDS entered the public awareness a few weeks ago when Robin Roberts, beloved co-host of Good Morning America, went public with her diagnosis of this disease. According to Be the Match, THE place to go to register to be a bone marrow donor, registrations have more than doubled since Ms. Roberts' announcement.