She is best known for her romantic comedies and is a triple nominee for the Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay; for Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally... and Sleepless in Seattle. She sometimes writes with her sister, Delia Ephron.
She has been married three times. Her first marriage, to writer Dan Greenburg, ended in divorce after nine years. Her second was to journalist Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame in 1976. Ephron had an infant son, Jacob, and was pregnant with her second son, Max, in 1980 when she found out the news of Bernstein's affair with their mutual friend, married British politician Margaret Jay. Ephron was inspired by the events to write the 1983 novel Heartburn, which was made into a 1986 film starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. In the book, Ephron wrote of a husband, Mark, who was “capable of having sex with a venetian blind.” She also said that the character Thelma (based on Margaret Jay) looked like a giraffe with "big feet." Bernstein threatened to sue over the book and film, but never did.
Ephron got a job at the New York Post, where she stayed as a reporter for five years, after a satire she wrote lampooning the Post caught the editor's eye. Upon becoming a successful writer, she wrote a column on women's issues for Esquire. In this position, Ephron made a name for herself by taking on subjects as wide-ranging as Dorothy Schiff, her former boss and owner of the Post, Betty Friedan, whom she chastised for pursuing a feud with Gloria Steinem, and her alma mater Wellesley, which she said had turned out a generation of "docile" women. A 1968 send-up of Women's Wear Daily in Cosmopolitan resulted in threats of a lawsuit from WWD.
While married to Bernstein in the mid-1970s, at her husband and Bob Woodward's request, she helped Bernstein re-write William Goldman's script for All the President's Men, because the two journalists were not happy with it. The Ephron-Bernstein script was not used in the end, but was seen by someone who offered Ephron a job writing a television movie, which would be her first screenwriting job.
Ephron's marriage with Bernstein ended acrimoniously, and Ephron was loose-lipped about the identity of Deep Throat. She told her son Jacob and has said that she told anyone who asked. "I would give speeches to 500 people and someone would say, ‘Do you know who Deep Throat is?’ And I would say, ‘It’s Mark Felt.’” Classmates of Jacob Bernstein at the Dalton School and Vassar College recall Jacob revealing to numerous people that Felt was Deep Throat. Curiously, the claims did not garner attention from the media during the many years that the identity of Deep Throat was a mystery. Ephron was invited by Arianna Huffington to write about the experience in the Huffington Post and now regularly blogs for the site.
Nora Ephron was the host of the dinner party where Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan met. (Source: Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death on the Brink of the Millennium, 1997)
In 2007, Ephron appeared in the feature-length documentary Dreams on Spec, which profiled three aspiring Hollywood screenwriters and offered wisdom from big-name writers like James L. Brooks, Carrie Fisher, and her.
Ephron's 6 word biography in Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure by Larry Smith is: 'Secret to Life, Marry an Italian'