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Melissa Mathison (1950 - 2015)

Getty Images / Wireimage / Ron Galella

Melissa Mathison (1950 - 2015)

Melissa Mathison, who was Oscar-nominated for original screenplay for Steven Spielberg’s “E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial” and also wrote “The Black Stallion,” died Wednesday in Los Angeles after an illness, her brother Dirk Mathison confirmed, according to Variety. She was 65.

She recently reunited with Spielberg to write the screenplay for Roald Dahl adaptation “The BFG,” which is in post-production. Mathison, who was married to Harrison Ford from 1983 to 2004, had two children with the actor, Malcolm and Georgia.

Spielberg, who worked closely with Mathison on the concept for the film partially inspired by his parents’ divorce, said in a statement Wednesday, “Melissa had a heart that shined with generosity and love and burned as bright as the heart she gave E.T.”


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She also wrote the screenplay for Martin Scorsese’s 1997 “Kundun,” during which she started a friendship with the film’s subject, the Dalai Lama.

She had a particular skill for adapting children’s literature, including the classic novel “The Indian in the Cupboard” for Kennedy-Marshall Productions. She also wrote screenplays for “The Escape Artist,” a segment in the “Twilight Zone” movie as well as the TV movie “Son of the Morning Star.”

Mathison was born in Los Angeles and attended U.C. Berkeley.

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