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OTRC: Nora Ephron, author and screenwriter, dies at 71 after leukemia battle

Nora Ephron appears on stage at a WFMU's Seven Second Delay - Live show at the UCB Theater in New York on Sept. 23, 2009. (flickr.com/photos/jdalton/)

Nora Ephron, author, playwright, journalist and screenwriter of films such as "When Harry Met Sally...," "Sleepless in Seattle" and "Silkwood," has died at age 71, OnTheRedCarpet.com has learned.

A source close to Ephron confirmed the news to ABC News on Tuesday, June 26.

Earlier in the day, rumors about her death surfaced due to what appeared to be a eulogy written by Liz Smith, who had recounted her long friendship with Ephron and wrote, 'I won't say, 'Rest in peace, Nora' -- I will just ask 'What the hell will we do without you?"

A source close to Ephron later told the media that the writer had leukemia but that she was still alive. Later that afternoon, her friends confirmed to ABC News that Ephron had died.

Ephron was born in New York City in 1941 and was raised in Beverly Hills. She began her career in journalism in the 1960s, writing for publications like the New York Post, Esquire and The New York Times Magazine.

The writer later got her start writing screenplays in the 1970s with the television series "Adam's Rib" in 1973 and the made-for-TV-movie "Perfect Gentlemen" in 1978. Ephron would go on to write "Silkwood" in 1983.

The film starred Meryl Streep and Cher. "Silkwood" earned five Oscar nominations for Streep, Cher, director Mike Nichols and Ephron, as well as co-screenwriter Alice Arlen.

Ephron would later become known for romantic comedies like "When Harry Met Sally...," "Sleepless in Seattle," "You've Got Mail" and "Julie & Julia." She was nominated for two more Oscars for writing "When Harry Met Sally" and "Sleepless in Seattle."

The writer was also a director and helmed "Sleepless in Seattle," "You've Got Mail," "Michael," "Bewitched," and "Julie & Julia."

"Nora Ephron was a journalist/ artist who knew what was important to know; how things really worked, what was worthwhile, who was fascinating and why," Tom Hanks, who worked with Ephron in "Sleepless in Seattle," said in a joint statement with his wife Rita on June 26. "At a dinner table and on a film set she lifted us all with wisdom and wit mixed with love for us and love for life. Rita and I are so very sad to lose our friend who brought so much joy to all who were lucky enough to know her."

Ephron also wrote books such as "Heartburn," which was turned into a feature film, and "Crazy Salad."

She has been married three times. Her first marriage was to writer Dan Greenburg, which ended in divorce in 1976. Ephron then married journalist Carl Bernstein in 1976. Bernstein is known for his role in reporting the Watergate scandal with fellow Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward.

Bernstein and Ephron divorced in 1980 and she wed screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi in 1987. Pileggi co-wrote the book "Wiseguy" and later adapted it for the film "Goodfellas." He also wrote the book and screenplay for "Casino. The couple remains married to this day.

She is survived by her husband, Pileggi, and two sons, Max and Jacob Bernstein.

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