Oscar-nominated screenwriter Melissa Mathison has died of cancer aged 65. She is best known for writing Steven Spielberg's 1982 classic E.T., which earned her the Academy Award nomination. As well as being a talented writer, Melissa was married to Harrison Ford between 1983 and 2004 and was the mother of two of his children.
Steven paid tribute to her, saying: "Melissa had a heart that (shone) with generosity and love and burned as bright as the heart she gave E.T."
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Melissa Mathison received an Oscar nomination for E.T.
In special DVD edition of film, the director later spoke of her contribution to the film: "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."
She met Harrison on the set of 1979 film Apocalypse Now on which she was a production assistant and he had a supporting role. After their marriage, she devoted herself to raising their children Malcolm, a musician who was born in 1987, and Georgia, an actress born in 1990.
Their divorce was one of the most expensive in Hollywood, with the star estimated to have paid her $85million and $118million including royalties from films made during their union.
Melissa Mathison and Harrison Ford were married between 1983 and 2004
Her other works included The Black Stallion and Martin Scorsese’s Kundun, about Tibet. During filming in 1997, she became friends with the Dalai Lama and remained an activist for Tibet till the end of her life.
Melissa's final professional achievement was to reunite with her old colleague Steven Spielberg for a big-screen adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s novel The BFG which is out in 2016.