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Hollywood mourns death of Ephron

June 27, 2012 at 11:01 AM   |   Comments

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LOS ANGELES, June 27 (UPI) -- Tom Hanks, Billy Crystal, Meryl Streep and the Directors Guild of America have expressed their sadness at the Tuesday death of filmmaker Nora Ephron.

Ephron died of pneumonia in New York after a battle with leukemia. She was 71.

"We were greatly saddened to learn of the passing of director Nora Ephron, 2011 recipient of the DGA Honors Filmmaker Award," DGA President Taylor Hackford said in a statement.

"Last year, as part of the guild's 75th anniversary, the DGA celebrated game-changing directors who have made an indelible mark on our industry. We are proud to have recognized Nora's contributions in honor of her prolific career as a director, producer, journalist, novelist, playwright and screenwriter," Hackford said. "When she began directing, Nora was an inspiration for women filmmakers at a time when there were few female directors working in Hollywood. Nora once said in The New Yorker: 'You look at a list of directors and it's all boys. So I thought, I'm just going to become a director and that'll make it easier.' Nora, thanks for making it easier for the many directors who will continue to follow in your footsteps."

"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," married "Sleepless in Seattle" stars Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson said in a statement to E! News. "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."

MTV.com quoted Crystal, who starred in "When Harry Met Sally ...," as saying: "I am very sad to learn of Nora's passing."

"She was a brilliant writer and humorist. Being her Harry to Meg [Ryan's] Sally will always have a special place in my heart. I was very lucky to get to say her words," Crystal said.

"In a world where we're told that you can't have it all, Nora consistently proved that adage wrong," Carrie Fisher, who co-starred in "When Harry Met Sally ...," said in a statement to The Boston Globe. "A writer, director, wife, mother, chef, wit -- there didn't seem to be anything she couldn't do. And not just do it, but excel at it, revolutionize it, set the bar for every other screenwriter, novelist, director."

Meryl Streep, who headlined "Heartburn" and "Julie & Julia," said: "Nora just looked at every situation and cocked her head and thought, 'Hmmmm, how can I make this more fun?' You could call on her for anything: doctors, restaurants, recipes, speeches or just a few jokes, and we all did it, constantly. She was an expert in all the departments of living well."

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