We're sad to report that Wednesday Nov. 4, 2015, screenwriter Melissa Mathison died at the age of 65 from neuroendocrine cancer. Her death was confirmed by her brother, Dirk.
Mathison wrote the original screenplay for E.T.: The Extraterrestrial, after developing the concept with director Steven Spielberg. The story was concocted out of the ashes of Spielberg's abandoned alien invasion film, Night Skies, and was also partially based on an imaginary friend that a young Spielberg invented after his parents got divorced. Mathison's screenplay was nominated for an Oscar.
She called her moving script a "boy meets dog story" and a tale of "redemption and resurrection."
Mathison had actually reteamed with Spielberg recently to write the screenplay for his next movie, The BFG, based on a story by Roald Dahl and due out next year. Her other screenwriting credits included The Black Stallion, The Indian in the Cupboard, The Escape Artist and Martin Scorsese’s film about the early life of the Dalai Lama, Kundun.
Mathison was also married for 21 years, from 1983 to 2004, to actor Harrison Ford, with whom she had two children, Georgia and Malcolm.