Filmmaker Nora Ephron Passes Away at 71

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It was reported earlier tonight that Oscar-nominated screenwriter and director Nora Ephron died at the age of 71 from pneumonia, a complication resulting from acute myeloid leukemia, a condition with which she was diagnosed in 2006.

Ephron became famous in Hollywood for writing many strong female characters and movies geared towards women, most recently with the 2009 film Julie & Julia, which got Meryl Streep her 16th Oscar nomination. Ephron also wrote Silkwood, which helped get Meryl Streep one of her earlier nods.

Probably some of Ephron’s most famous works were writing the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally…, still considered a classic in the genre, as well as writing and directing Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail, both starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. Ephron also wrote and directed the 2005 film remake of the classic television show Bewitched, starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell.

Sony Corporation Chairman Sir Howard Stringer released the following statement:

“Nora, as a writer, director and producer, is a legendary triple threat in entertainment’s great trifecta: Broadway, Hollywood and publishing. With her passing, many lights have been extinguished – studio lights, theater lights, of course. But mostly, the light from the chandelier above her dining table where so many gathered to share, with Nick and her sons, her extraordinary life. So many friends will miss her terribly and no longer know who to call, what to see, what to listen to, where and what to eat, and often, what to think. Such is her energy, her enthusiasm and her gift for friendship.”

While his co-chairman Amy Pascal added:

“We are devastated and heartbroken. We all loved Nora very much.”

Her fellow director Taylor Hackford, President of the Directors Guild of America, released the following statement:

“We were greatly saddened to learn of the passing of director Nora Ephron, 2011 recipient of the DGA Honors Filmmaker Award. Last year, as part of the Guild’s 75th Anniversary, the DGA celebrated game-changing directors who have made an indelible mark on our industry. We are proud to have recognized Nora’s contributions in honor of her prolific career as a director, producer, journalist, novelist, playwright and screenwriter. When she began directing, Nora was an inspiration for women filmmakers at a time when there were few female directors working in Hollywood. Nora once said in the New Yorker, ‘You look at a list of directors and it’s all boys; So I thought, I’m just going to become a director and that’ll make it easier.’ Nora, thanks for making it easier for the many directors who will continue to follow in your footsteps.”

(Photo Credit: Adriana M. Bar/WENN.com)