Nora Ephron, 'When Harry Met Sally' writer, dies at 71

Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in 'When Harry Met Sally'

Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in 'When Harry Met Sally'

One of the most prominent female filmmakers in history, Nora Ephron, has died at the age of 71.

Famous for her films including When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, she is believed to have died after suffering complications with pneumonia.

Nominated for three Oscars during her career, she also worked as a director on films including Julie and Julia and You've Got Mail and wrote a book an ageing as well as essays and features for a number of publications.

Many of the lines from her scripts remain well known, including "I'll have what she's having," said in Katz's Deli, and suggested by star Billy Crystal.

Born in New York, she grew up in Beverley Hills with her Jewish parents and three younger sisters. She studied at Wellesley College in Massachusetts – Hillary Clinton enrolled there a few years later - and graduated in 1962. After a brief stint as an intern in the Kennedy White House, she began working as a New York Post reporter.

Her personal life was as dramatic as those of her fictional protagonists. After a divorce, she married Washington Post journalist and Watergate investigator Carl Bernstein in 1976, discovering while pregnant with their second child of his affair with the British politician Margaret Jay.

She subsequently turned her experience into a novel, which later became a film starring Meryl Streep. In 1987 she married for the third time.

She was one of a select few who knew of the identity of the mysterious "Deep Throat" source behind the Watergate revelations before it was revealed to the world. She once said living with the secret was "hell".

"I have dealt with the situation by telling pretty much anyone who asked me, including total strangers…Not for nothing is indiscretion my middle name."

Last updated: 10:19am, June 27 2012