Writer-wit Norah Ephron will be remembered most for making smart, contemporary women of a certain demographic visible on the big screen. Snappy, credible, and leading with intelligence rather than vulnerability or sexuality, Ephron created memorable heroines in whom we saw ourselves.

In all of the films she wrote or directed, from When Harry Met Sallyfeaturing Meg Ryan’s world-class simulated orgasm and other deft verities in the lives of single adults—to seeking a relationship in Sleepless in Seattle (Ryan and Tom Hanks) to the novelty of modern romance in the Internet age (You’ve Got Mail, with Ryan and Hanks again), Ephron, who began her career as a journalist, reflected the zeitgeist. Always humorous—and often searing—her books attracted a wide audience.  Heartburn, Crazy Salad, Wallflower at the Orgy, I Feel Bad about My Neck, and the most recent, I Feel Nothing, celebrate wisdom and candor spiked with appealing zaniness. Ephron succeeded in Hollywood in a profession dominated by men. A most talented woman, Norah Ephron managed success, power, and visibility on her own terms.  She will be missed.

Norah Ephron reinvents the romantic comedy with When Harry Met Sally.