Nora Ephron’s Life in Photos: ‘When Harry Met Sally’ to ‘Julie & Julia’

From her early days as a reporter to her work on ‘You’ve Got Mail,’ see photos of the Oscar nominee’s life.

Jemal Countess / Getty Images

Jemal Countess / Getty Images

Nora Ephron, 1941–2012

Writer, director, and producer Nora Ephron passed away Tuesday at 71. From her early days as a reporter to her 1992 directorial debut and her work on set in ‘You’ve Got Mail,’ see the Oscar nominee’s life in pictures.

After her first job as a mail girl at Newsweek and working as a reporter in the 1960s, Ephron began as a humor columnist for Esquire magazine. Her 1972 essay “A Few Words About Breasts” made waves—and put her on the map. Here she is walking down a New York street on July 23, 1975, shortly after she published another popular essay, “Crazy Salad.”

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At age 37 in 1978, during a portrait session in Los Angeles.

Richard Drew / AP Photo

Ephron married Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein in 1976. They divorced four years later, after he was unfaithful, and their marriage became fodder for her 1983 roman à clef, Heartburn.

Everett Collection

In 1989, Ephron wrote When Harry Met Sally, which starred Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, was directed by Rob Reiner, and became a huge box-office hit.

Everett Collection

Ephron’s directorial debut, in 1992’s This Is My Life—the tale of Dottie Ingels (Julie Kavner) and her two young daughters braving New York—was less of a commercial success.

Everett Collection

Sleepless in Seattle, which Ephron co-wrote with her younger sister, Delia, paired Meg Ryan with Tom Hanks in what became romantic-comedy legend. At left, Ephron on set with Hanks in 1993.

Frank O'Brien, The Boston Globe / Getty Images

Ephron gave the commencement address at Wellesley College in 1996 (at left with the school’s president, Diana Chapman Walsh). “Don’t let the New York Times article about the brilliant success of Wellesley graduates in the business world fool you—there’s still a glass ceiling,” she told the graduates. “Don’t let the number of women in the workforce trick you—there are still lots of magazines devoted almost exclusively to making perfect casseroles and turning various things into tents. Don’t underestimate how much antagonism there is toward women and how many people wish we could turn the clock back.”

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Ephron married her third husband, writer Nicholas Pileggi, in 1987. Ten years later, the couple attended the 25th Annual American Film Institute Gala honoring Martin Scorsese at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.


Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks reunited in 1998 for Ephron’s You’ve Got Mail, a modern take on The Shop Around the Corner, about a romance that played out over email. At left, the writer-director on set.

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Ephron was honored alongside James Schamus and Martin Scorsese at the 55th Annual Writers Guild of America Awards in 2003.

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Ephron updated the 1960s TV series Betwitched for a movie starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. At left, on set in 2005.

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In 2008, Ephron was honored at the New York Public Library for her work as a screenwriter and essayist alongside illustrator and author Ashley Bryan, playwright Edward Albee, and author Salman Rushdie.

Jonathan Wenk / Columbia Pictures

Ephron’s most recent film was 2009’s Julie & Julia, which starred Meryl Streep as Julia Child.

Matt Sayles / AP Photo

Ephron, at left, with Streep and Amy Adams at the premiere of Julie & Julia in Los Angeles on July 27, 2009.

Jemal Countess / Getty Images

Ephron appeared onstage with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2010 as part of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit.

Ephron with son Jacob Bernstein, a contributor to Newsweek and The Daily Beast, at a Vanity Fair party in 2011.

Linda Nylind, eyevine / Redux

Nora Ephron

In addition to her work as a screenwriter and a director, Ephron was a successful writer, publishing several novels and collections of essays, including I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, Wallflower at the Orgy, Scribble Scribble, and Heartburn. She also contributed to The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast.