Of all the world-famous actors to work with Nora Ephron, none is as closely associated with the screenwriter and director as Meg Ryan. The three Ephron movies she starred in -- "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle" and "You've Got Mail" -- were some of her most successful, at the box office and in the eyes of critics. So it comes as no surprise that Ryan was particularly hard hit by the news of Ephron's death on Tuesday night.

"Nora was an era," began Ryan's poetic statement, sent via email to The Huffington Post.

"We pictured ourselves inside her dreams and they became ours," she continued. "All wisdom, wit and sparkle lights, what a treat she was, what a bless. I marvel again and again, what a life... to have created a simple happiness in people, to have added to the sum of delight in the world."

Tom Hanks, Ryan's costar in "You've Got Mail" and "Sleepless in Seattle," emphasized his director's intelligence, charm and warmth, noting that Ephron "knew what was important to know; how things really worked, what was worthwhile, who was fascinating and why." In an echo of a statement issued yesterday by Nicole Kidman, he said that her erudition made her a distinguished giver of dinner parties:

"At a dinner table and on a film set she lifted us all with wisdom and wit mixed with love for us and love for life. Rita and I are so very sad to lose our friend who brought so much joy to all who were lucky enough to know her..."

Rosie O'Donnell, who had a memorable cameo as Meg Ryan's editor in "Sleepless in Seattle," was more succint, but no less moved. "I am devastated," she said. "Nora was a close friend and will be missed terribly."

For some, the fame of those three movies can obscure the fact that Hollywood's "Nora Era" really began with the 1983 release of "Silkwood." But not for Meryl Streep and Mike Nichols, respectively the star and director of the movie, for which Ephron wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay.

Streep said, in a statement, that she had always been impressed by Ephron's "gifts of mind" -- but also that, before the two became close, she found those gifts "kind of scary," intimidating in their expansiveness. "But as I got to know her," Streep explained,"I understood what drove her was her acute curiosity, and her desire to observe and find out stuff." She continued:

"It's what made her great as a journalist, and as a director, too... She thought fast, loved new ideas, processed swiftly, decided what was valuable and what was not with clarity. It's hard to credit how very smart she was, because she was always deflectively feminine and funny, the sharpness of mind softened and smoothed by genuine charm."

Nichols -- whom Ephron saluted with a hilarious speech at the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement awards in 2010 -- issued a statement that expressed a profound sense of loss:

"What kind of a place is this? I feel like someone reached in and grabbed my compass from around my neck and threw it from a moving train. How will I navigate? I think a lot of friends and readers will feel like that. Nora was so funny and interesting that we didn’t notice that she was necessary. She is absolutely irreplaceable."

Irreplaceable -- and, to judge by the emotional outpouring from her former colleagues, unforgettable.

Earlier on HuffPost:

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  • Nora Ephron

    Actress Marcia Gay Harden and writer Nora Ephron speak at the 55th Annual Writers Guild of America Awards at the Pierre Hotel March 8, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images)

  • Nora Ephron

    Cherry Jones and Nora Ephron join Diane Lane at a luncheon celebrating her New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress for her role in 'Unfaithful' at the Four Season's in New York City. January 14, 2003. Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect

  • Nora Ephron

    Honorees James Schamus, Martin Scorsese, Nora Ephron and Executive Director of WGA East Mona Mangan pose together at the 55th Annual Writers Guild of America Awards at the Pierre Hotel March 8, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images)

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    Writer/director Nora Ephron and writer Nicholas Pileggi arrive at the 101 Greatest Screenplays gala reception at the Writers Guild Theater on April 6, 2006 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

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    Actress Mary Lynn Rajskub, actor Chris Messina, director Nora Ephron, actresses Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, and producer Laurence Mark arrive at the special screening of Columbia Pictures' 'Julie & Julia' held at Mann Village Theatre on July 28, 2009 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

  • Nora Ephron

    Director Nora Ephron, actresses Meryl Streep, and Amy Adams arrive at the special screening of Columbia Pictures' 'Julie & Julia' held at Mann Village Theatre on July 28, 2009 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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    US actors Stanley Tucci, Meryl Streep, US director Nora Ephron and US actor Chris Messina pose during the photocall of the movie 'Julie and Julia' directed by US Nora Ephron on September 5, 2009 at the 35th American Film Festival, in Deauville, northwestern France. AFP PHOTO / MYCHELE DANIAU (Photo credit should read MYCHELE DANIAU/AFP/Getty Images)

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    Producer Amy Robinson, actor Stanley Tucci, actress Meryl Streep, actress Amy Adams, actor Chris Messina, and writer/director Nora Ephron attend the 'Julie & Julia' premiere after party at Metropolitan Club on July 30, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

  • Nora Ephron

    Actress Amy Adams and writer Nora Ephron attend the 'Julie & Julia' premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre on July 30, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

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    Martha Stewart and writer Nora Ephron attend the 'Julie & Julia' premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre on July 30, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

  • Nora Ephron

    US director Nora Ephron (L) arrives with US actors Stanley Tucci (2ndL), Meryl Streep and Chris Messina for the screening of her movie 'Julie and Julia' on September 5, 2009 at the 35th American Film Festival, in Deauville, northwestern France. AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS GUILLOT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nora Ephron

    US director Nora Ephron (L) arrives with US actors Meryl Streep and Chris Messina for the screening of her movie 'Julie and Julia' on September 5, 2009 at the 35th American Film Festival, in Deauville, northwestern France. AFP PHOTO / MYCHELE DANIAU (Photo credit should read MYCHELE DANIAU/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nora Ephron

    Playwright Nora Ephron, Rosie O�Donnell and Playwright Delia Ephron attend the after party for the Off Broadway opening night of 'Love, Loss and What I Wore' at Bryant Park Grill on October 1, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

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    U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and writer/director Nora Ephron attend the Fortune Most Powerful Women summit at Mandarin Oriental Hotel on October 4, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Time Inc.)

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    Actress Zoe Kazan and director Nora Ephron attend the Juror Welcome Lunch At The 2011 Tribeca Film Festival at Tribeca Lofts on April 21, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

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    Nora Ephron and Arianna Huffington attend TechCrunch Disrupt New York May 2011 at Pier 94 on May 23, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Charles Eshelman/Getty Images for AOL)

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    Actress Meryl Streep (R) poses with award recipient Director Nora Ephron at the 2011 Directors Guild Of America Honors at the Directors Guild of America Theater on October 13, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

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    Lesley Stahl (R) interviews Nora Ephron (L) on SiriusXM's "The wowOwow Radio Show" at SiriusXM Studio on April 11, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)