Nora Ephron Biography

(Screenwriter, Producer, Director)

Birthday: May 19, 1941 (Taurus)

Born In: New York City, New York, United States

Nora Ephron was an American journalist, playwright, screenwriter, novelist, columnist, director and producer. She is mostly known for the romantic comedies that she wrote and directed, like, ‘Sleepless in Seattle’, ‘When Harry Met Sally’, ‘You’ve Got Mail’, etc. She started out her creative journey as a journalist for the New York Post and worked there for the initial six years of her career, which helped her in finding her voice to finally be able to pen down her bold, eccentric and satirical ideas into famous essays and novels. But it was Ephron’s leap into Hollywood with her distinctive talent for screenwriting that established her talent for the world to notice. Her first script ‘Silkwood’ paved the way for her future success in the field of screenwriting. But she did not just restrict herself to that; with ‘This is My Life’ she entered into the creative and elaborate world of film making. She also co-authored the Drama Desk Award–winning theatrical production ‘Love, Loss, and What I Wore’ with her sister Delia and in 2013, Ephron received a posthumous Tony Award nomination for Best Play for her play ‘Lucky Guy’.

Quick Facts

Died At Age: 71


Spouse/Ex-: Carl Bernstein (m. 1976-1980; divorced), Dan Greenburg (m. 1967-1976; divorced), Nicholas Pileggi (m. 1987–2012; her death)

father: Henry Ephron

mother: Phoebe Ephron

siblings: Amy, Delia, Hallie Ephron

children: Jacob Bernstein, Max Bernstein

Born Country: United States

Quotes By Nora Ephron Directors

Died on: June 26, 2012

place of death: New York City, New York, United States

City: New York City

U.S. State: New Yorkers

More Facts

education: Wellesley College

  • 1

    What are some of Nora Ephron's most famous movies?

    Some of Nora Ephron's most famous movies include "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle," and "You've Got Mail."

  • 2

    What inspired Nora Ephron to become a filmmaker?

    Nora Ephron was inspired to become a filmmaker after working as a journalist and seeing the power of storytelling through film.

  • 3

    How did Nora Ephron's writing style influence romantic comedies?

    Nora Ephron's writing style in romantic comedies was known for its wit, humor, and relatable characters, which influenced the genre and set a new standard for romantic comedies.

  • 4

    What was Nora Ephron's approach to addressing social issues in her films?

    Nora Ephron often addressed social issues in her films by weaving them into the storyline with a blend of humor and sensitivity, sparking important conversations among audiences.

  • 5

    How did Nora Ephron's background in journalism impact her filmmaking career?

    Nora Ephron's background in journalism provided her with a strong foundation in storytelling, research, and attention to detail, which she brought to her filmmaking career, creating compelling narratives with depth and authenticity.

Childhood & Early Life
Nora Ephron was born in New York to Henry and Phoebe Ephron. Both her parents were screenwriters and she was brought up in a creative environment in Beverly Hills along with her three sisters.
She graduated from Beverly Hills High School and later on received her degree from Wellesley College in Massachusetts in 1962. After that she took up a job as an intern in the White House.
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After her brief stint at the White House, Ephron started working for the New York Post as a reporter. She landed the job after the editor liked a parody that she wrote on the ‘New York Post’.
She became a famous writer with the New York Post, especially after she came out with the sensational news in 1966 that singer Bob Dylan had married Sara Lownds in a private ceremony three-and-a-half months before.
Soon after her success with the Post, she started writing a column on women’s issues for Esquire and wrote about various topics and personalities that interested the female gender, like—on Dorothy Schiff, Betty Friedan, her alma mater Wellesley.
In the 1970s, her articles, focused on sex, food, and New York City, were collected and published in 1970's ‘Wallflower at the Orgy’ and 1975's ‘Crazy Salad’. ‘A Few Words About Breasts’, made her name as an essayist.
In 1983, she made an entry into the world of movies by writing the screenplay for the drama ‘Silkwood’. The story became so popular that she received an Academy Award nomination in the category of Best Screenplay.
Her success from ‘Silkwood’ was followed with her screenplay for ‘Harry Met Sally (1986)’—starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. The engaging and humorous story about a relationship between a man and woman earned her another Oscar nomination.
In 1992, Ephron made an attempt at film making and directed her first film, ‘This is My Life’, a family drama focusing on the life of a single mother aspiring to become a stand-up comedian. The movie received good reviews.
In the following year, she wrote and directed, ‘Sleepless in Seattle’. The movie starred Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks; along with her third Oscar nomination, Ephron earned a box office success worth more than $120 million.
Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks came together again for Ephron’s American romantic comedy ‘You’ve Got Mail’ in 1998. The screenplay was written by Ephron and her sister Delia, based on the play ‘Parfumerie’ by Miklos Laszlo.
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Ephron’s next film ‘Bewitched’ released in 2005 but it failed to generate any positive response. In the following year, she resumed her role as an essayist and released ‘I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman’.
Her last epic work was a comedy about the life of Julia Child and a young, aspiring cook, titled ‘Julie & Julia’ in 2009. She received critical acclaim for the film, which starred Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.
Major Works
Ephron started her creative career with journalism and writing essays but it was leap into screenwriting and film making that made her extremely famous. She is known for writing and directing epic films like, ‘Sleepless in Seattle’, ‘Julie & Julia’, etc.
Awards & Achievements
Ephron was the winner of Women in Film Crystal Award and apart from that has won a BAFTA Award for ‘When Harry Met Sally’, Writers Guild of America Awards’ Ian McLellan Hunter Award and Casting Society of America’s Golden Apple Award.
Personal Life & Legacy
Ephron married thrice: her first marriage was with writer Dan Greenburg (from 1967-76). Her second marriage was with journalist Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame (from 1976-80)—the couple had two children together: Jacob and Max.
She got married for the third time to Screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi in 1987 and remained married to him until her death.
Ephron died of pneumonia, a complication resulting from acute myeloid leukemia in 2012. Her condition with acute myeloid leukemia was diagnosed 6 years before her death.
Facts About Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron was known for her love of cooking and often incorporated food themes into her movies, such as the iconic "bouquet of sharpened pencils" scene in "You've Got Mail."

She was a talented writer and director but also had a knack for humor, as seen in her witty essays and sharp dialogue in her films.

Nora Ephron was a strong advocate for women in the film industry and addressed important feminist themes in her work, paving the way for future female filmmakers.

She had a unique talent for capturing the complexities of relationships and human emotions in her films, which resonated with audiences around the world.

Nora Ephron's legacy extends beyond her filmography, as she also wrote several best-selling books that showcased her wit, intelligence, and storytelling prowess.


BAFTA Awards
1990 Best Screenplay - Original When Harry Met Sally... (1989)

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