Melissa Mathison: 1950-2015

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

by | November 5, 2015 | Comments

melissa
(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

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