UPDATE: Screenwriter and Director Nora Ephron Dies at 71, The Celebrities Speak Out

Nora Ephron, best known for penning the screenplay for "When Harry Met Sally" (1989) and writing and directing "Sleepless in Seattle" (1989) and "You've Got Mail" (1998), has died after battling leukemia. Strangely, the word started to get around earlier today when gossip columnist Liz Smith wrote a story referring to Ephron in the past tense.

Nora Ephron,  best known for penning the screenplay for “When Harry Met Sally” (1989) and writing and directing “Sleepless in Seattle” (1989) and “You’ve Got Mail” (1998), has died after battling leukemia. She was 71. Strangely, the word started to get around earlier today when gossip columnist Liz Smith wrote a story referring to Ephron in the past tense. She later corrected it to present tense, but it was later revealed that Smith had in fact passed away.

Ephron was the daughter of Hollywood screenwriters, and went on her own successful writing path, receiving an Academy award nomination in 1983 for her feature screenwriting debut, Silkwood.” She would later be nominated again for writing “When Harry Met Sally,” and “Sleepless in Seattle”

She was also known as the ex-wife of Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein, her second husband and father of her two sons. USATODAY reports that 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.”

In 2006 she wrote a popular, wildly funny book about growing older, I Feel Bad About My Neck And Other Thoughts About Being a Woman. But she would again return to film, writing and directing Julie & Julia starring Streep in 2009.

She is survived by her sons and her third husband, screenwriter and novelist Nicholas Pileggi.

UPDATE: HERE ARE A NUMBER OF STATEMENT FROM DIFFERENT CELEBRITIES ON THE FILM LEGEND

Billy Crystal: “I am very sad to learn of Nora’s passing…She was a brilliant writer and humorist. Being her Harry to Meg’s Sally will always have a special place in my heart. I was very lucky to get to say her words.

Tom Hanks/Rita Wilson: “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…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…”

Nicole Kidman: “She was so smart, warm and funny…I am so grateful that she was my friend and we had the opportunity to work together. My thoughts and love are with her family at this time. I will never forget the dinners, games and laughter we all shared.”

Meryl Streep: “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.”

And, of course, we can’t forget Twitter:

Alan Cumming: “So sad to hear about the death of Nora Ephron. I worked with her recently and she was kind and funny and fascinating.”

Sarah Silverman: “I just heard about Nora Ephron. I’m so sad. A great & prolific writer, a warm & kind soul. Gone just like that.”

Kerry Washington: “@thinkprogress: “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim” — Nora Ephron ‪#rip.”

Kevin Nealon: “Auditioned for Nora Ephron 20 yrs ago. Didn’t get the part but she sent me a thank you note. I’ll always remember that and you, Nora.”

Kelly Ripa: “RIP Nora Ephron. You will be missed.”

Albert Brooks: R.I.P Nora Ephron. A witty, charming, lovely person.

Elijah Wood: “terrible to hear of Nora Ephron’s passing. may she rest in peace.”

Joe Mantegna: “My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Nora Ephron at the news of her passing. Especially to her husband and my friend Nick.” (Ephron was married to Wise Guy author Nick Pileggi.)

Juliette Lewis: “So sad to hear bout Nora Ephron. We did a movie called ‘Mixed Nuts’ when I was 20. She was funny intelligent and loving. One of a kind.”

Shonda Rhimes: “‘I try to write parts for women that are as complicated and interesting as women actually are.’ —Nora Ephron”

Colin Hanks: Nora Ephron was devastatingly funny, extremely witty, and was ALWAYS one of the kindest people I have ever met.

Soleil Moon Frye: “‘I always read the last page of a book first so that if I die before I finish I’ll know how it turned out.’ RIP Nora Ephron.”

Ron Howard: “RIP Nora Ephron brilliant gracious and FUNNY”

Justin Timberlake: “R.I.P. Nora Ephron… Funny, charming, witty, full of heart, and one of the greatest who put it all down in timeless, quotable classics.”

Bette Middler: “Nora Ephron. The Hostess with the Mostest on the Ball. A brilliant soul, and we will all miss her so….”

Kristen Schaal: “Nora Ephron was wonderful. She was kind to me and she will be missed.”

Andie MacDowell: “In my sex fantasy nobody ever loves me for my mind….’Nora Ephron ‘ NORA we loved everything about you and we will miss you.”

Steve Martin: “She was the one you wanted to read, to listen to, to be in the company of. Nora Ephron. Incomparable wit; delightful friend. Sadness reigns.”

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