Screenwriter, director and author Nora Ephron died Tuesday in California at the age of 71 after a private battle with leukemia. She leaves behind a body of work that includes "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle" and "Julie and Julia." Here are four things that pop culture would be missing without Ephron.
1. The modern romantic comedy: With films like "When Harry Met Sally" and "Sleepless in Seattle," Ephron set the standard for the rom-coms of today -- and everyone else has just been trying to match her. In fact, those two films often end up duking it out for the top spot on "Best Romantic Comedy" lists.
2. That orgasm scene: Speaking of "When Harry Met Sally," the film's most infamous scene features Meg Ryan proving to Billy Crystal just how convincingly a woman can fake an orgasm. Aside from being outrageously funny, it also pushed frank discussions of female sexuality forward. The scene also turned "I'll have what she's having" into a catchphrase.
3. Meg Ryan's career: And speaking of Meg Ryan, the actress' greatest screen successes came in a trio of romantic comedies either written or directed by Ephron: "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle" and "You've Got Mail." Sure, she made her career in the rom-com world, but she's never been better than when working with Ephron.
4. Meryl Streep as Julia Child: Streep might have won an Oscar for playing Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady" and was only nominated for one for "Julie and Julia," but her job of transforming into the famous chef was just as amazing. Streep also brought Ephron's words to life in "Silkwood" and "Heartburn," the latter based on Ephron's marriage to Carl Bernstein.
Lasting words of wisdom
Ephron, an avid columnist and author as well as a filmmaker, leaves behind plenty of advice for living a better life, like this gem: “You do get to a certain point in life where you have to realistically, I think, understand that the days are getting shorter, and you can’t put things off thinking you’ll get to them someday. If you really want to do them, you better do them. There are simply too many people getting sick, and sooner or later you will. So I’m very much a believer in knowing what it is that you love doing so you can do a great deal of it.”