Melissa Mathison: 1950-2015

The Oscar-nominated screenwriter of E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial was 65.

by | November 5, 2015 | Comments

(Photo by Kevin Winter / Staff / Getty Images)


Oscar-nominated screenwriter Melissa Mathison, who penned the scripts for such classics as E.T. the Extra Terrestrial and The Black Stallion, died Wednesday in Los Angeles after a battle with cancer. She was 65.

Born in Los Angeles, to parents who were both writers, Mathison attended the University of California-Berkeley before leaving to work as Francis Ford Coppola’s assistant on The Godfather, Part II. After another stint as an assistant on Coppola’s Apocalypse Now — where she met future Husband Harrison Ford — she wrote the script for The Black Stallion (1979), a wide-eyed, deeply-felt family film that was produced by Coppola’s American Zoetrope studio. She would later write the script for Black Stallion cinematographer Caleb Deschanel’s The Escape Artist.)

However, it was Mathison’s script for E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) that would prove to be her defining work as a screenwriter; she had said she was frustrated with the kinds of films that were typically made for children. E.T. earned Mathison an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay; she and director Steven Spielberg would then collaborate on his segment of the 1983 omnibus film Twilight Zone: The Movie and the forthcoming fantasy adventure The BFG, which is slated for a 2016 release.

Mathison took time off in the mid-1980s to raise a family. She returned to the scene in 1997 with the script for Martin Scorsese’s Kundun, which was influenced by Mathison’s friendship with the Dalai Lama and her activism on behalf of Tibet. She is survived by two children from her marriage to Ford.

For Melissa Mathison’s complete filmography, click here.

Tag Cloud

casting FX Awards Ghostbusters Disney streaming service canceled aliens harry potter Star Wars Freeform TCA MSNBC true crime Sony Pictures game of thrones name the review adaptation cats elevated horror Mystery teaser Arrowverse TruTV TV Land rotten movies we love Musicals Best and Worst foreign SXSW miniseries cancelled TV shows Vudu what to watch NBC Marvel Studios ghosts Writers Guild of America halloween Disney Comedy Academy Awards American Society of Cinematographers independent Warner Bros. Britbox Holiday politics Watching Series Crunchyroll sequel cops zombie RT21 Video Games golden globes First Look 2019 GIFs boxoffice toy story binge unscripted Star Trek strong female leads Amazon Prime Red Carpet Amazon LGBT Awards Tour Lionsgate Creative Arts Emmys The Arrangement BBC America Tarantino 2020 crime drama witnail ratings franchise Pop Marvel romance Super Bowl dc Peacock Trophy Talk war 24 frames justice league cancelled TV series theme song reviews festivals Family renewed TV shows Mindy Kaling WarnerMedia Avengers Set visit police drama History batman Apple TV Plus SundanceTV dceu Film E3 spinoff 007 See It Skip It Syfy HBO Rocketman Character Guide X-Men directors scary movies Baby Yoda cults GoT Calendar Esquire cartoon anthology book Cosplay Schedule Women's History Month SDCC The Walking Dead Sundance blockbuster Epix documentary The Witch Ovation DGA Crackle Apple Walt Disney Pictures Tubi El Rey Fox News Martial Arts Reality Horror Podcast Disney Channel Brie Larson TCM The Purge Netflix Christmas movies Hulu CMT 2018 mutant Musical Holidays Infographic Teen Mary poppins Adult Swim Lucasfilm Amazon Prime Video canceled TV shows Song of Ice and Fire joker technology spy thriller Emmy Nominations Disney Plus quibi docudrama YouTube Red FXX Spring TV NYCC Hallmark Christmas movies spider-man vampires universal monsters robots cooking dramedy period drama Heroines A&E TCA 2017 ABC CNN werewolf 45 disaster serial killer CBS zero dark thirty BET reboot YouTube Pop TV Film Festival CBS All Access Reality Competition social media PaleyFest Year in Review travel Quiz TCA Winter 2020 DC Comics Emmys TV WGN Country award winner Turner Classic Movies Sneak Peek Premiere Dates TV renewals A24 tv talk Music Nickelodeon discovery Paramount Trivia zombies Pixar 20th Century Fox MTV Apple TV+ E! Shudder Pet Sematary Rom-Com mockumentary Election Columbia Pictures TIFF 2015 screenings breaking bad Oscars south america Marathons Polls and Games VICE crossover Spectrum Originals Logo sports Cannes 2017 hispanic Nominations Opinion historical drama AMC game show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt YouTube Premium President New York Comic Con Lifetime Discovery Channel medical drama Superheroes Chernobyl Spike Shondaland revenge Hallmark science fiction Lifetime Christmas movies ABC Family Endgame Winners BBC blaxploitation comiccon FOX cinemax psycho Tomatazos comics Rocky Classic Film screen actors guild sitcom Certified Fresh DC streaming service YA Stephen King doctor who IFC Turner slashers Showtime DirecTV Television Academy RT History 21st Century Fox psychological thriller Valentine's Day movie spain Tumblr versus Mudbound finale indie LGBTQ based on movie 71st Emmy Awards CW Seed ESPN Paramount Network GLAAD Winter TV Comedy Central crime thriller talk show movies Mary Tyler Moore DC Universe Black Mirror comic Disney+ Disney Plus Countdown cars Acorn TV animated children's TV USA composers Drama Kids & Family Extras Anna Paquin Comic Book Sundance Now Sci-Fi transformers richard e. Grant TLC Masterpiece APB Elton John Pride Month Universal HBO Max series anime christmas movies Dark Horse Comics thriller Superheroe OWN PBS facebook Ellie Kemper Grammys Toys diversity Rock Bravo The CW Nat Geo Marvel Television Thanksgiving Pirates television nature Travel Channel Sundance TV Mary Poppins Returns dragons Food Network Starz green book Funimation VH1 FX on Hulu adventure Comics on TV crime Interview cancelled television Christmas First Reviews Binge Guide spanish language Netflix natural history political drama latino sag awards 2016 streaming dogs stand-up comedy supernatural Fall TV MCU Western hist IFC Films Animation Summer jamie lee curtis Biopics kids TNT Black History Month TBS National Geographic Box Office space Action romantic comedy San Diego Comic-Con video Fantasy ITV USA Network Captain marvel Trailer Amazon Studios Cartoon Network free movies Photos Chilling Adventures of Sabrina cancelled OneApp singing competition biography