Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron (born May 19 1941) is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, novelist, and blogger.

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.

Personal life

Ephron was born in New York, New York, eldest of four daughters in a Jewish family and grew up in Beverly Hills; her parents, Henry and Phoebe Ephron, were both East Coast-born and raised screenwriters. Her sisters Delia and Amy are also screenwriters. Ephron's parents based Sandra Dee's character in the play and then Jimmy Stewart film Take Her, She's Mine on their 22-year-old daughter Nora and her letters to them from college. Both became alcoholics during their declining years. Ephron graduated from Beverly Hills High School in Beverly Hills, California in 1959.

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 has been married for more than 20 years to screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi and lives in New York City.


Ephron graduated from Wellesley College and was briefly an intern in the White House of President John F. Kennedy.

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 and Deep Throat

For many years, Ephron was among only a handful of people in the world claiming to know the identity of Deep Throat, the source for news articles written by her husband Carl Bernstein during the Watergate scandal. Ephron claims to have guessed the identity of Deep Throat through clues left by Bernstein. Among them was the fact that Bernstein referred to the source as "My Friend," the same initials as "Mark Felt," whom some suspected to be Bernstein's source.

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.

Selected filmography

Producer, director, and screenwriter

Director and screenwriter

Producer and screenwriter

Producer and director


Essay collections

  • Crazy Salad
  • Wallflower at the Orgy
  • (2006) I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman


Ephron produced a film of collected clips from New York movies for the 2002 Academy Awards.

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'


External links

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