The industry is reeling from the news that celebrated writer-director Nora Ephron died Tuesday night in New York after a battle with leukemia, the New York TImes reported. She was 71.
While her agency CAA and publisher Knopf denied earlier reports Tuesday that she had died, gossip columnist Liz Smith had posted a story that repeatedly referred to the 71-year-old in the past tense while never actually saying she had died.
Smith told The Hollywood Reporter that she'd spoken with Ephron's son Jacob Bernstein for her story, which was quickly updated to the present tense.
"I was told this morning that she was dying, but I can't confirm it," said Smith, who noted that the family is planning for a funeral.
During her career, Ephron has specialized in romantic comedies, many of which became both commercial and critical hits. She also is known to reteam with many of the same actors, including Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
This was the first of four movies that teamed Ephron with Meg Ryan, who starred with Billy Crystal as a pair of friends who don't realize they are meant to be together until several years after they first meet. Ephron wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay for the Rob Reiner-directed movie -- which famously included the line "I'll have what she's having" -- earning her an Oscar nomination, among other honors.