Date: June 28 2012
''TAKE notes,'' Nora Ephron's mother advised her as a child. ''Everything is copy.''
Her mother, a Broadway playwright and Hollywood screenwriter, imbued Ephron with a razor-sharp self-awareness and the ambition to transform workaday absurdities, cultural idiosyncracies, romantic foibles and even marital calamity into essays, novels and films brimming with invitingly mordant wit.
Ephron, who gained a devoted following for her perceptive, personal essays and parlayed that renown into a screenwriting career of romantic comedies, such as When Harry Met Sally, the marital expose Heartburn and the whistleblower drama Silkwood, has died at a hospital in New York aged 71.
She died of complications from the blood disorder myelodysplasia, with which she was diagnosed six years ago.
As a young woman, Ephron modelled her self-deprecating and deadpan writing style on Dorothy Parker.
Of the philandering husband in her 1983 novel Heartburn - modelled on her marriage to former Washington Post journalist Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame - Ephron wrote he was ''capable of having sex with a Venetian blind''.
As a woman in the male-dominated movie business, Ephron was a rare ''triple-hyphenate'' as writer, director and producer.
From her early years as a journalist for Esquire and New York magazines, Ephron was regarded as a keen cultural barometer. Her last film, Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep as the French-cooking apostle Julia Child and Amy Adams as a modern disciple, explored the trendy fascination with blogging and gourmet cooking.
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