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

award winner batman elevated horror Film parents The Purge dc crossover best Video Games screen actors guild Quiz Masterpiece CMT psycho Grammys Funimation Apple TV Plus children's TV Rom-Com reboot Pet Sematary science fiction Pirates OneApp Marvel Studios LGBT 2015 serial killer YouTube Red The Arrangement golden globes singing competition Infographic E3 Comedy 20th Century Fox nfl Star Trek anime Spring TV TBS TCA 2017 sitcom strong female leads Winners ratings Hallmark Horror Apple TV+ Disney Plus Summer hist Podcast blockbuster Pop TV nbcuniversal Comic Book based on movie Song of Ice and Fire Lifetime revenge Teen Hulu vampires TCA Winter 2020 BBC America Holiday 007 Shudder stand-up comedy mockumentary discovery Certified Fresh DC streaming service MCU Nat Geo what to watch stop motion casting Disney+ Disney Plus historical drama Sneak Peek series spinoff witnail BBC TCA Awards news IFC crime thriller Tubi 2020 hispanic Valentine's Day TCA disaster psychological thriller romance Academy Awards zero dark thirty Pixar breaking bad Mudbound Freeform animated diversity San Diego Comic-Con HBO YA TLC Arrowverse Cartoon Network 2017 A24 2018 Lionsgate Photos cops 2019 Biopics directors theme song Vudu spain dramedy Anna Paquin Premiere Dates Mindy Kaling documentaries Interview Amazon Studios werewolf cartoon adaptation technology Musicals spanish language indie south america unscripted thriller Lifetime Christmas movies Writers Guild of America Fox News DirecTV zombie Election video Discovery Channel Ghostbusters Apple spider-man Tumblr Cosplay boxoffice Awards Tour Crunchyroll Universal twilight halloween Adult Swim Columbia Pictures Warner Bros. christmas movies jamie lee curtis BET Awards Mystery APB teaser The Witch Showtime Spectrum Originals YouTube VOD DC Universe Best and Worst Disney TIFF WGN docudrama scary movies composers Action Red Carpet quibi dogs ITV DGA New York Comic Con festivals child's play RT21 Schedule miniseries cooking football Country Superheroe Mary Tyler Moore 21st Century Fox Crackle WarnerMedia obituary cats all-time TV renewals Marathons CBS All Access period drama OWN mutant classics rotten movies we love politics Nominations Epix harry potter toy story reviews satire game of thrones National Geographic Syfy USA die hard Animation GoT kids cults streaming Winter TV social media Starz transformers Endgame Sundance TV television Comics on TV Musical films spy thriller Western remakes video on demand Dark Horse Comics TCM sag awards talk show USA Network crime drama criterion Lucasfilm Ovation worst Turner Classic Movies CW Seed Paramount Network superhero Countdown Trophy Talk sequel Acorn TV Stephen King 71st Emmy Awards Cannes Baby Yoda true crime Christmas PlayStation HBO Go movie supernatural Sundance Now Black Mirror ABC festival worst movies CNN Elton John Logo dragons Women's History Month Rocketman finale cinemax Sony Pictures rotten romantic comedy First Look Awards mission: impossible Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Disney Channel binge Netflix Christmas movies tv talk MSNBC cars 45 Trivia Marvel Television cancelled TV shows sports Food Network hollywood Star Wars name the review Britbox BET PBS green book foreign emmy awards Reality Competition medical drama BAFTA A&E concert ghosts 72 Emmy Awards Ellie Kemper GLAAD aliens Disney streaming service Pop Amazon political drama IFC Films Fall TV TNT crime FOX renewed TV shows Paramount ESPN VH1 zombies travel TruTV justice league SDCC slashers CBS cancelled Fantasy El Rey Spike Character Guide Television Critics Association war independent DC Comics Sci-Fi canceled robots blaxploitation venice Shondaland Classic Film FX President Watching Series BBC One Bravo richard e. Grant HBO Max natural history Esquire dceu Captain marvel Tomatazos ABC Family Creative Arts Emmys The Walking Dead Thanksgiving YouTube Premium LGBTQ laika screenings Year in Review Turner canceled TV shows Tarantino NYCC free movies space Netflix Pride Month asian-american Heroines franchise See It Skip It indiana jones NBC Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Super Bowl Mary Poppins Returns biography documentary Emmy Nominations adventure Amazon Prime comedies Holidays Rocky anthology Nickelodeon Toys American Society of Cinematographers 24 frames Extras cancelled television toronto Black History Month universal monsters Marvel comiccon SXSW TV 4/20 The CW Brie Larson fast and furious FX on Hulu Walt Disney Pictures Set visit Polls and Games Reality versus Martial Arts AMC History Television Academy GIFs sequels Hear Us Out critics Peacock Drama FXX Sundance Hallmark Christmas movies comic book Rock game show movies Kids & Family scorecard Amazon Prime Video latino RT History doctor who police drama SundanceTV a nightmare on elm street dark Chernobyl MTV Music PaleyFest Comedy Central Film Festival VICE Trailer TV Land Travel Channel nature Oscars comics Box Office Family Superheroes X-Men chucky 2016 Emmys facebook Calendar E! First Reviews joker Binge Guide Avengers Mary poppins Opinion stoner cancelled TV series