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

2016 supernatural Pirates Lucasfilm based on movie TV Land Walt Disney Pictures 45 Shondaland Grammys Best and Worst Ghostbusters Opinion Polls and Games medical drama DC Comics Premiere Dates finale VH1 social media Chilling Adventures of Sabrina ABC Action CBS All Access television Podcast Infographic Schedule GoT Fox News dramedy Set visit TCM AMC discovery Year in Review Extras BBC FOX Pixar DC streaming service cinemax Sci-Fi CMT Starz robots Comedy Paramount Network CW Seed Quiz Toys Mindy Kaling Disney Channel Freeform The CW Marvel boxoffice ITV Kids & Family Epix Creative Arts Emmys Comic Book MSNBC Video Games Lionsgate The Arrangement Britbox Drama Syfy FX talk show Sundance Now justice league zombies E! Trophy Talk Awards Tour Box Office streaming First Look Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Red Carpet Comedy Central Bravo YouTube Premium Tomatazos APB Warner Bros. Valentine's Day police drama Nat Geo Country sports Masterpiece NBC doctor who adventure Amazon period drama Esquire Winter TV Rock serial killer Cosplay Biopics TLC Animation Netflix YA SXSW RT History comiccon comic Apple Music romance Holidays CBS Election American Society of Cinematographers diversity Photos transformers Sundance docudrama GIFs Horror Star Wars Star Trek harry potter Awards singing competition biography Rocky festivals unscripted VICE politics Writers Guild of America San Diego Comic-Con Acorn TV Tumblr Dark Horse Comics Shudder USA Network Superheroe Musicals Sony Pictures SundanceTV sitcom Interview ABC Family Christmas TNT thriller ESPN hist PaleyFest science fiction mutant SDCC BBC America OWN spy thriller jamie lee curtis cults golden globes Lifetime Trivia Disney National Geographic Adult Swim LGBTQ Rom-Com cooking YouTube Red Universal CNN Mystery dc TCA crime thriller Crackle Winners PBS zombie Showtime Super Bowl Musical cops anime MTV Sneak Peek cats DirecTV aliens war Comics on TV GLAAD Pop X-Men DC Universe Fall TV Ovation 20th Century Fox crime drama Superheroes composers TIFF crime IFC Watching Series Columbia Pictures political drama TV technology TruTV Emmys 2015 USA Marathons ratings dceu HBO Spring TV Food Network Nickelodeon what to watch Oscars Song of Ice and Fire Reality Competition Cartoon Network travel NYCC Hulu President Western 2017 blaxploitation Summer Trailer History A&E Thanksgiving Reality Spike El Rey 21st Century Fox WGN TBS binge Logo IFC Films psycho Calendar Teen New York Comic Con See It Skip It vampires Mary Tyler Moore Countdown Character Guide 24 frames FXX Certified Fresh Paramount BET historical drama Fantasy E3 Nominations 007 crossover TCA 2017 Martial Arts Ellie Kemper