Born in New York City in 1941, Ephron's parents were both Hollywood screenwriters. She began her career as a general assignment reporter for The New York Post. Her writing career flourished and she wrote essays in Esquire and New York Magazine that were later collected into two books, "Wallflower at the Orgy" and "Crazy Salad." In 1983, Ephron wrote the best-selling novel "Heartburn," which set the stage for a theme that runs through her work.
Considered by some to be something of an expert on the topsy-turvy relationships between men and women, Ephron is perhaps best known for her screenplay for the hit film "When Harry Met Sally." The film, starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal, earned Ephron her second Academy Award nomination for best screenplay; she had previously earned a nomination for best original screenplay for the film "Silkwood." Other screenplays on her list of credits include "Heartburn," "Cookie," and "My Blue Heaven."
"I craved to be a journalist," said Ephron in an interview with Harold Goldberg for Rough Cut's Now Playing Web site. "My parents were terrific screenwriters and that's why I didn't want to be one. I mean, who wants to do what your parents do? My parents did have some influence on my choice of a career because being a journalist isn't actually choosing to be a carpenter. My parents were writers. I wanted to be a writer. I just didn't want to have anything to do with the movie business. I didn't want to live 'out there.' I grew up 'out there.' It turns out you can be in New York and be in the movie business."
In 1992, Ephron decided to try her hand at directing. She quickly found her niche. A year later, audiences crowded theaters to see Ephron's hit film "Sleepless in Seattle," a romantic comedy starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks that quickly became a Hollywood classic. Ephron won another Academy Award Nomination for best original screenplay for this film. Also on her list of directorial credits is "Michael," starring John Travolta, "Mixed Nuts," starring Steve Martin, and her most recent film, "You've Got Mail," starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
"When I meet young writers, I always say, 'Go and learn something so that you can write a movie about it someday,' " said Ephron in an interview with Paul Byrne for the Aero Film Web site. "I was blessed having been a journalist. When I wrote 'Silkwood,' I didn't know anything about a plutonium factory, but I did know how to find out, how to write that up. And I know what it's like to work in an office. You have to learn realities that inform your writing.
"It's probably foolish to say 'Be a journalist,' but I don't know
what they're going to be writing about if they don't go and soak up a little
bit of extra stuff, and then you can always write a screenplay when you're
35 or something," Ephron said. "And meanwhile you've had all the
fun of journalism, which is really the greatest job there is. Especially
for those of us with really short attention spans."
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