ET Screenwriter Melissa Mathison Dies At Age 65

ET Screenwriter Melissa Mathison Dies At Age 65
Nutmeg Candle, Double Wick slgckgc / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Melissa Mathison, who was the wife of Harrison Ford from 1983 to 2004, has died on Wednesday. She was 65.


The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that the Oscar-nominated screenwriter responsible for writing Steven Spielberg’s 1982 film “E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial” passed away in Los Angeles. Her brother Dirk Mathison has confirmed to Variety that she passed due to an illness.

Mathison also wrote “The Black Stallion” (1979), “The Escape Artist” (1982), “Indian in the Cupboard” (1995), and “Kundun (1997).” Another movie she wrote for Spielberg is “The BFG,” which is supposed to be released in 2016.

In a statement, Spielberg said, “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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Born in Los Angeles, Mathison attended U.C. Berkeley before meeting Harrison Ford in 1976 on the set of “Apocalypse Now.” They have two children: Malcom in 1987 and Georgia, 1990.

In an interview with the The New Yorker in 2012, Mathison said, “Steven and I shared our imagination on this story; we both brought our own memories and strengths. In 1982 I was not yet a parent, but was a stepmother, and had been a consummate babysitter and an older sister.”