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Nora Ephron Dies at 71


Remembering the writer's place in gay film history for her depiction of a lesbian character, played by Cher, in 'Silkwood'

The news of writer-director Nora Ephron's death last night was surprising to most of us who weren't aware of her struggle with leukemia. Most well-known for penning the scripts for When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, Ephron was also an outspoken advocate for gay rights. She's even credited in gay history books since the night she cancelled a talk at NYC's LGBT Community Center left the spot open and allowed Larry Kramer to take the stage in her place and give a speech--which was the start of ACT UP.
As SheWired remembers, Ephron also co-wrote the screenplay for Mike Nichols critically acclaimed 1983 whistle blower drama Silkwood, which starred Streep, Cher, and Kurt Russell. In it, Cher plays Dolly Pelliker, one of the first big-screen lesbian characters to be portrayed as a fully rounded person, and it earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress that year.

In an interview with The Advocate in 2009, at the time of the realease of Julie & Julia, Ephron discussed the character saying, "...I really do think was a breakthrough. I don't mean that she was the first gay character in a mainstream movie, but this was no joking, winking, interior decorator gay person; it was a person."

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