While Steven Spielberg directed one of the greatest classics of Hollywood, Melissa Marie Mathison is responsible for writing it. Unfortunately, she recently passed away amid working on a new movie with the famous director.
She was born on June 3, 1950, in Los Angeles, California. Time moved forward, and she graduated from Providence High School in Burbank, California. Then, during her college years, she attended the University of California-Berkeley. Approximately by age 32, she married Harrison Ford. Yet, they divorced in 2004. As an addition, they had two children – Malcolm Ford and Georgia Ford. However, while an average U.S. woman’s height is understood 5 feet, 3 inches — says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — she was 5 feet, 11 inches, according to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb).
— Variety (@Variety) November 4, 2015
According to Variety, Melissa died at the University of California-Los Angeles Medical Center on Wednesday, November 4, 2015. The Los Angeles Times states that her brother, Dirk Mathison, told the medium Melissa was battling neuroendocrine cancer for “several months.” At age 65, she left a legacy of classic, major contributions including, but not limited to E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial, The Black Stallion, Twilight Zone: the Movie, and The Indian in the Cupboard.
However, she wasn’t just a writer. Variety reports that Mathison worked on E.T as an associate producer. The executive producer was Kathleen Kennedy. In addition, IMDb notes that the movie’s budget, in 1982, was an estimated $10.5 million. If you were to use an inflation percentage of 2.81, from 1982 to the present, the value of that past amount would approximate to $24.9 million today.
Nevertheless, according to Variety, Melissa Mathison mentioned the amount of work that went into the making of E.T. She explained during an interview on a special DVD edition.
“I would write for four or five days in my little office in Hollywood, and then drive out to Marina Del Rey where Steven Spielberg was editing in a little apartment on the beach. I’d bring him my pages and we’d sit and go through them…It took about eight weeks for us to get the first draft, which was quite fast, I think.”
Similarly, she received accolades from Steven Spielberg, himself. During the DVD special, he spoke on it as well. He stated as follows.
“Melissa delivered this 107-page first draft to me and I read it in about an hour. I was just knocked out. It was a script I was willing to shoot the next day. It was so honest, and Melissa’s voice made a direct connection with my heart.”
However, after Melissa Mathison passed away, Spielberg mentioned that she “had a heart that shined with generosity and love and burned as bright as the heart she gave ‘E.T.'”
And equally, Melissa put similar work into her latest writing — in Spielberg‘s The BFG. While in post-production, it’s set to release on July 1, 2016, as reported by IMDb. About the movie, the source states as follows.
“A girl named Sophie encounters the Big Friendly Giant who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because unlike his peers refuses to eat boys and girls.”
It’s based on the 1989 novel by Roald Dahl. However, this particular remake of the film is noted to be part of a 30-picture deal between two picture companies, actually as a joint venture. The source mentions that this is the first time Walt Disney Pictures and Dreamworks Pictures have come together to produce a single film.
— People magazine (@people) November 5, 2015
So, even though Melissa Mathison is no longer alive, her works and legacies will live on through her many accomplishments.
What are your thoughts about her death? Feel free to share them in the comments below.
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