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Melissa Mathison, screenwriter of 'E.T.,' dies at 65

By Wade Sheridan
Melissa Mathison, screenwriter of 'E.T.,' dies at 65
Melissa Mathison, left, who is credited for writing the screenplays for E.T. and The Black Stallion, among others, died Wednesday at 65 of neuroendocrine cancer. She is survived by two children from her relationship with former husband Harrison Ford, pictured at right in 1998. File photo by Michael Smith/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Melissa Mathison, best known for writing the screenplay of E.T The Extra-Terrestrial and The Black Stallion has died at the age of 65.

Mathison died of neuroendocrine cancer Wednesday in Los Angeles, her sister Melinda Johnson confirmed to Entertainment Weekly.

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Mathison earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay for E.T. in 1983 and recently reunited with the movie's director, Steven Spielberg, to write the screenplay for Roald Dahl adaptation, The BFG which is currently in post-production.

"Melissa had a heart that shined with generosity and love and burned as bright as the heart she gave E.T.," Spielberg said in a statement offering his condolences.

The writer's other credits include The Escape Artist, Twilight Zone: The Movie, The Indian in the Cupboard and Kundun with director Martin Scorsese during which she started a friendship with the film's subject, the Dalai Lama.

Mathison is survived by her two children, Georgia Ford and Malcolm Carswell Ford from her marriage to actor ex-husband Harrison Ford.

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