Nora Ephron, the writer who gave Hollywood hit romantic comedies such as When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, has died from leukaemia, aged 71. She began her career as a journalist, writing for publications including the New York Times, before turning to movies.Time and again her scripts proved box office gold and they gave her three Oscar nominations.
The friendships she made on set continued when the cameras stopped rolling and the film fratnerity was quick to pay tribute to her.Tom Hanks, her leading man in Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail, said he and his wife Rita Wilson "so very sad" to have lost their friend and praised her "wisdom and wit".A statement from the couple said: "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." Of course Nora will always be best known for penning that scene in When Harry Met Sally.One of its stars, Bill Crystal said: "She was a brilliant writer and humorist. Being her Harry to Meg Ryan's Sally will always have a special place in my heart. "I was very lucky to get to say her words."
Other memorable films include Heartburn, loosely based on the story of her own failed marriage to Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein and Julia & Julia. Both starred Meryl Streep, who wrote to the The New York Times of her generosity. "You could call on her for anything." "Doctors, restaurants, recipes, speeches, or just a few jokes, and we all did it, constantly. She was an expert in all the departments of living well." Nora is survived by her third husband Nicholas Pileggi, whose books inspired Martin Scorcese's films Goodfellas and Casino, and two sons Max and Jacob.