Nora Ephron dead at 71

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  • Nora Ephron, legendary author and filmmaker, dead at 71
  • Family says she was suffering from acute myeloid leukemia
Nora Ephron dead at 71

Nora Ephron, the writer, director, filmmaker and romantic comedy pioneer, has died, HLN confirms.

Alfred A. Knopf, Ephron's publishing house, confirmed her passing. "It is with great sadness that we report that Nora Ephron has died at the age of 71, after a battle with leukemia," the statement read. "She brought an awful lot of people a tremendous amount of joy. She will be sorely missed." 

Ephron's son, Jacob Bernstein, told the New York Times that Ephron died of pneumonia brought on by acute myeloid leukemia. 

Best known for her wit, wry takes on sex and gender, and invaluable contributions to popular film, Ephron's death is already being felt from Hollywood to the living rooms of fans around the world.

HLN Poll: What's your favorite Nora Ephron film?

Tom Hanks, who starred in the Ephron-penned "Sleepless in Seattle," and his wife Rita Wilson, released a statement honoring Ephron.

"Nora Ephron was a journalist/artist who knew what was important to know; how things really worked, what was worthwhile, who was fascinating and why.  At a dinner table and on a film  set she lifted us all with wisdom and wit mixed with love for us and love for life."

Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, where Ephron grew up and where many of her stories were based, says his city will take her death particularly hard. 

"The loss of Nora Ephron is a devastating one for New York City’s arts and cultural community. From her earliest days at New York City’s newspapers to her biggest Hollywood successes, Nora always loved a good New York story, and she could tell them like no one else. The books, movies and plays that she set in the world’s greatest city are classics that will be enjoyed for generations, but New York City will miss Nora very much."

Ephron is probably best known for her screenplays for "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle," and "Julie and Julia." Beyond that, Ephron was a wry voice in women's literature and popular non-fiction. Her collections of essays, "I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Reflections on Being a Woman" and "I Remember Nothing" both gained widespread popularity.

So much of Ephron's personal writing and thoughts made it into her films, it seems this is the only occasion where quoting "You've Got Mail," which she wrote and directed, would be appropriate, and not bizarre:

"Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void."

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