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Melissa Marie Mathison (June 3, 1950 – November 4, 2015) was an American film and television screenwriter and an activist for Tibetan freedom. She was best known for writing the screenplays for the films The Black Stallion (1979) and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
(1982), the latter of which earned her the Saturn Award for Best Writing and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Mathison went on to write The Indian in the Cupboard (1995), based on Lynne Reid Banks' 1980 children's novel of the same name, and Kundun (1997), a biographical-drama film about the Dalai Lama. Her final film credit was The BFG (2016), which marked her third collaboration with director Steven Spielberg.

Contents

1 Early years 2 Screenwriting and production credits 3 Dalai Lama 4 Personal life and death 5 Screenwriting filmography 6 References 7 External links

Early years[edit] Melissa Mathison
Melissa Mathison
was born on June 3, 1950 in Los Angeles, California, one of five siblings. Her father, Richard Randolph Mathison, was the Los Angeles
Los Angeles
bureau chief of Newsweek. Her mother was Margaret Jean (née Kieffer) Mathison, a food writer and convenience-foods entrepreneur. After graduating from Providence High School in 1968, Mathison attended the University of California, Berkeley.[2] Her family was friendly with Francis Ford Coppola, whose children were babysat by Mathison. Coppola offered her a job as his assistant on The Godfather Part II, an opportunity for which she left her studies at UC Berkeley.[2] With Coppola’s encouragement, she wrote a script for The Black Stallion, adapted from the novel, that caught the attention of Steven Spielberg.[3] Screenwriting and production credits[edit] Mathison wrote the screenplay for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
in collaboration with Steven Spielberg. It was nominated for an Oscar for best original screenplay.[4] The screenplay was based on a story that Spielberg provided to Mathison during the filming of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Spielberg attributes the line "E.T. phone home" to Mathison.[5] She collaborated again with Spielberg for The BFG, which was released in 2016. She also had film credits for The Escape Artist and The Indian in the Cupboard.[2] Dalai Lama[edit] Mathison knew the Dalai Lama from 1990 when she wrote the script for Kundun, and she developed a lasting friendship with him from that time on. She continued to work as an activist for Tibetan freedom and was on the board of the International Campaign for Tibet.[6] Personal life and death[edit] From 1983 to 2004, Mathison was married to Harrison Ford; they had two children together. She died on November 4, 2015 in Los Angeles, aged 65, from neuroendocrine cancer.[2] Her final film, The BFG, was dedicated in her memory. Screenwriting filmography[edit]

Year Title Genre Notes

1979 The Black Stallion Family-adventure

1982 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Fantasy-adventure-science fiction Saturn Award for Best Writing Nominated—Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, (1983) The line "E.T. phone home." is ranked 15th among the top 100 quotations of U.S. cinema by the American Film
Film
Institute.

The Escape Artist Drama

1983 Twilight Zone: The Movie Science fiction-thriller Segment 2, "Kick the Can"; credited as "Josh Rogan"

1991 Son of the Morning Star Western Television
Television
film

1995 The Indian in the Cupboard Family-adventure

1997 Kundun Biographical-drama

1998 The Emperor's New Clothes: An All-Star Illustrated Retelling of the Classic Fairy Tale Animated, Family

2008 Ponyo Animated, family-adventure Storyline consultant, English-language translation

2016 The BFG Family-fantasy-adventure Posthumous release Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Writing

References[edit]

^ "Melissa Mathison". Movies.yahoo.com. April 20, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2015.  ^ a b c d Chawkins, Steve (November 4, 2015). " Melissa Mathison
Melissa Mathison
dies at 65; screenwriter of 'E.T.,' 'Black Stallion,' 'Kundun'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 8, 2015. ] ^ "Melissa Mathison: a masterful storyteller who brought ET to life", The Guardian, November 5, 2015. ^ Saperstein, Pat. "Melissa Mathison, 'E.T.' Screenwriter
Screenwriter
and Ex-Wife of Harrison Ford, Dies at 65". Variety. Retrieved November 8, 2015.  ^ Weber, Bruce (November 6, 2015). "Melissa Mathison, 65, Dies; Wrote Screenplay
Screenplay
for 'E.T.'". New York Times. Retrieved November 8, 2015.  ^ Melissa Mathison, A Conversation with the Dalai Lama, Rolling Stone, 21 July 2011

External links[edit]

Melissa Mathison
Melissa Mathison
on IMDb

v t e

Saturn Award for Best Writing

William Peter Blatty
William Peter Blatty
(1973) Ib Melchior/ Harlan Ellison
Harlan Ellison
(1974/75) Jimmy Sangster
Jimmy Sangster
(1976) George Lucas
George Lucas
(1977) Elaine May
Elaine May
and Warren Beatty
Warren Beatty
(1978) Nicholas Meyer
Nicholas Meyer
(1979) William Peter Blatty
William Peter Blatty
(1980) Lawrence Kasdan
Lawrence Kasdan
(1981) Melissa Mathison
Melissa Mathison
(1982) Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury
(1983) James Cameron
James Cameron
and Gale Anne Hurd
Gale Anne Hurd
(1984) Tom Holland (1985) James Cameron
James Cameron
(1986) Michael Miner and Edward Neumeier
Edward Neumeier
(1987) Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg (1988) William Peter Blatty
William Peter Blatty
(1989/90) Ted Tally (1991) James V. Hart
James V. Hart
(1992) Michael Crichton
Michael Crichton
and David Koepp (1993) Jim Harrison
Jim Harrison
and Wesley Strick
Wesley Strick
(1994) Andrew Kevin Walker (1995) Kevin Williamson (1996) Mike Werb and Michael Colleary (1997) Andrew Niccol
Andrew Niccol
(1998) Charlie Kaufman
Charlie Kaufman
(1999) David Hayter
David Hayter
(2000) Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
(2001) Scott Frank and Jon Cohen (2002) Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson
(2003) Alvin Sargent (2004) Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan
and David S. Goyer
David S. Goyer
(2005) Michael Dougherty
Michael Dougherty
and Dan Harris (2006) Brad Bird
Brad Bird
(2007) Christopher and Jonathan Nolan
Jonathan Nolan
(2008) James Cameron
James Cameron
(2009) Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan
(2010) Jeff Nichols
Jeff Nichols
(2011) Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino
(2012) Spike Jonze
Spike Jonze
(2013) Christopher and Jonathan Nolan
Jonathan Nolan
(2014) Lawrence Kasdan, J. J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt
Michael Arndt
(2015) Eric Heisserer (2016)

v t e

Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay

Original Drama (1969–1983, retired)

William Goldman
William Goldman
(1969) Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola
and Edmund H. North (1970) Penelope Gilliatt (1971) Jeremy Larner (1972) Steve Shagan (1973) Robert Towne
Robert Towne
(1974) Frank Pierson
Frank Pierson
(1975) Paddy Chayefsky
Paddy Chayefsky
(1976) Arthur Laurents
Arthur Laurents
(1977) Nancy Dowd, Robert C. Jones and Waldo Salt (1978) Mike Gray, T. S. Cook and James Bridges (1979) Bo Goldman
Bo Goldman
(1980) Warren Beatty
Warren Beatty
and Trevor Griffiths (1981) Melissa Mathison
Melissa Mathison
(1982) Horton Foote (1983)

Original Comedy (1969–1983, retired)

Paul Mazursky
Paul Mazursky
and Larry Tucker (1969) Neil Simon
Neil Simon
(1970) Paddy Chayefsky
Paddy Chayefsky
(1971) Peter Bogdanovich, Buck Henry, David Newman and Robert Benton (1972) Melvin Frank and Jack Rose (1973) Mel Brooks, Norman Steinberg, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor
Richard Pryor
and Alan Uger (1974) Robert Towne
Robert Towne
and Warren Beatty
Warren Beatty
(1975) Bill Lancaster
Bill Lancaster
(1976) Woody Allen
Woody Allen
and Marshall Brickman (1977) Larry Gelbart
Larry Gelbart
and Sheldon Keller (1978) Steve Tesich
Steve Tesich
(1979) Nancy Meyers, Harvey Miller and Charles Shyer
Charles Shyer
(1980) Steve Gordon (1981) Don McGuire, Larry Gelbart
Larry Gelbart
and Murray Schisgal (1982) Lawrence Kasdan
Lawrence Kasdan
and Barbara Benedek (1983)

Original Screenplay (1984–present)

Woody Allen
Woody Allen
(1984) William Kelley and Earl W. Wallace (1985) Woody Allen
Woody Allen
(1986) John Patrick Shanley
John Patrick Shanley
(1987) Ron Shelton (1988) Woody Allen
Woody Allen
(1989) Barry Levinson
Barry Levinson
(1990) Callie Khouri
Callie Khouri
(1991) Neil Jordan
Neil Jordan
(1992) Jane Campion
Jane Campion
(1993) Richard Curtis
Richard Curtis
(1994) Randall Wallace (1995) Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (1996) James L. Brooks
James L. Brooks
and Mark Andrus (1997) Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard
Tom Stoppard
(1998) Alan Ball (1999) Kenneth Lonergan
Kenneth Lonergan
(2000) Julian Fellowes
Julian Fellowes
(2001) Michael Moore
Michael Moore
(2002) Sofia Coppola
Sofia Coppola
(2003) Charlie Kaufman
Charlie Kaufman
(2004) Paul Haggis
Paul Haggis
and Bobby Moresco (2005) Michael Arndt
Michael Arndt
(2006) Diablo Cody
Diablo Cody
(2007) Dustin Lance Black
Dustin Lance Black
(2008) Mark Boal
Mark Boal
(2009) Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan
(2010) Woody Allen
Woody Allen
(2011) Mark Boal
Mark Boal
(2012) Spike Jonze
Spike Jonze
(2013) Wes Anderson
Wes Anderson
and Hugo Guinness (2014) Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (2015) Barry Jenkins
Barry Jenkins
and Tarell Alvin McCraney
Tarell Alvin McCraney
(2016) Jordan Peele
Jordan Peele
(2017)

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 29653197 LCCN: n82049949 ISNI: 0000 0003 6863 9460 GND: 1016931336 SUDOC: 056539398 BNF: cb12624291j (data) NDL: 00875496 BNE: XX1093680 SN

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