By Maria Puente, USA TODAY
Nora Ephron, the journalist-turned-successful Hollywood screenwriter/director, is dead. She was 71. The Washington Post was the first to report Ephron's death following some confusion this afternoon about the status of her health.
She died of complications from the blood disorder myelodysplasia, according to the Post.
Born in New York and raised in Beverly Hills, Ephron was the eldest daughter of two Hollywood screenwriters; two of her sisters also are screenwriters, and a third is journalist and author.
Ephron is best known for her romantic comedies, such as When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, but also as the ex-wife of Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein, her second husband and father of her two sons. His cheating during their marriage inspired her 1983 laughing-through-tears novel Heartburn and the 1986 movie of the same name starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep.
She also claimed to have long known - and would tell anyone who would ask - the identity of Deep Throat, the mystery source who spilled the Watergate story to Bernstein and his Washington Post reporting partner, Bob Woodward, although the name of the source did not come out until decades later (it was FBI Associate Director Mark Felt).
Ephron started out as a newspaper reporter and "New Journalism" magazine writer acclaimed for her satiric and witty essays in the 1960s and 1970s.
She had a special knack for titles: Her 1972 essay, A Few Words About Breasts, which helped establish her as a first-rate writer, is echoed in her 2006 book, I Feel Bad About My Neck And Other Thoughts About Being a Woman.
More recently, her movie career flourished; Julie & Julia, also starring Streep, got rave reviews in 2009.
She also received three Oscar nominations for screenwriting, for Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle.
She is survived by her sons and her third husband, screenwriter and novelist Nicholas Pileggi.