Screenwriter Behind ‘E.T.’ Dead at 65

Nov 5, 2015  •  Post A Comment

A well-known Hollywood screenwriter, who received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay for “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982), has died. The AP reports that Melissa Mathison died Wednesday after battling neuroendocrine cancer. She was 65.

Besides “E.T.,” Mathison’s film credites included writing screenplays for “The Black Stallion” (1979) and “The Indian in the Cupboard” (1995). She also wrote the “Kick the Can” segment for the 1983 feature “Twilight Zone: The Movie,” under the name Josh Rogan, and wrote Martin Scorsese’s 1997 film “Kundun.”

“E.T.” brought Mathison a string of accolades, including a Golden Globe nomination and a Writers Guild Award for Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen.

“Mathison’s stories were rich with symbolism, adventure, depth, and darkness. With their intricate plots and grown-up themes of loneliness and loss, her films enchanted a generation of kids, and their parents,” the AP report notes.

The story adds: “She might never have matched the heights of her sophomore success ‘E.T.,’ which came out when she was in her early 30s, but the film’s cultural resonance continues to reverberate even over three decades later. Steven Spielberg may have come up with the idea, but Mathison made it into a story.”

In a statement, “E.T.” director Spielberg said: “Melissa had a heart that shined with generosity and love and burned as bright as the heart she gave ‘E.T.'”

Mathison, who met Harrison Ford on the set of “Apocalypse Now,” was married to Ford from 1983 to 2004. She had two children with Ford, Georgia and Malcolm.

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