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NEW YORK -- Nora Ephron, the essayist, author and filmmaker who challenged and thrived in the male-dominated worlds of movies and journalism, has died. She was 71.

Ephron's family says she died of leukemia Tuesday night at a Manhattan hospital.

Born into a family of screenwriters, Ephron was a top journalist in her 20s and 30s, then a best-selling author and successful director. She was among the most quotable and influential writers of her generation.

She wrote and directed such favorites as "Julie & Julia" and "Sleepless in Seattle," and her books included the novel "Heartburn," a brutal roman a clef about her marriage to Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein.

Ephron was married three times: to Dan Greenburg, Bernstein and Nicholas Pileggi, who survives her. She had two sons.

HILLEL ITALIE
AP National Writer