Nora Ephron (1941 - 2012) achieved international success as a director and writer of feature films, a field that had been effectively closed to women for over half a century. Her earlier work as a journalist and essayist had already won her a reputation for sharp-eyed social observation and sharp-tongued humor. It also introduced a distinctive approach to her favorite subjects: New York City, food, and the baffling ways of men and women in love. She was pregnant with her second child when her husband left her, and she found herself at home with two babies to take care of while trying to break into screenwriting. In 1983, her script for the film Silkwood was nominated for an Oscar, and her novel Heartburn, a comic fictionalization of the end of her marriage, became a bestseller. Ephron's original screenplay, When Harry Met Sally, solidified her reputation as a screenwriter, but she wanted something more. She made her name as a director with Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail, runaway successes that established her as Hollywood's premier creator of modern romantic comedies. Her 2009 film Julie and Julia recounted the life of the author and television personality Julia Child, who introduced Americans to French cooking in the 1960s. Ephron's 2006 book of essays, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts On Being a Woman, topped the New York Times hardcover best-seller list for over nine months. Although her subject was the aging process, her approach to the human condition remained unchanged. "When you slip on a banana peel, people laugh at you," she said. "But when you tell people you slipped on a banana peel, it's your laugh."

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