Mathison in 2015
June 3, 1950
|Died||November 4, 2015 65) (aged|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
(m. 1983;div. 2004)
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 (1982), the latter of which earned her the Saturn Award for Best Writing and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
Film, also called movie or motion picture, is a medium used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty or atmosphere by the means of recorded or programmed moving images along with other sensory stimulations. The word "cinema", short for cinematography, is often used to refer to filmmaking and the film industry, and to the art form that is the result of it.
Television (TV), sometimes shortened to tele or telly, is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome, or in color, and in two or three dimensions and sound. The term can refer to a television set, a television program, or the medium of television transmission. Television is a mass medium for advertising, entertainment and news.
A screenplay writer, scriptwriter or scenarist is a writer who practices the craft of screenwriting, writing screenplays on which mass media, such as films, television programs and video games, are based.
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.
The Indian in the Cupboard is a 1995 American family fantasy drama film directed by Frank Oz and written by Melissa Mathison, based on the children's book of the same name by Lynne Reid Banks. The story is about a boy who receives a cupboard as a gift on his ninth birthday. He later discovers that putting toy figures in the cupboard, after locking and unlocking it, brings the toys to life.
Lynne Reid Banks is a British author of books for children and adults.
Kundun is a 1997 American epic biographical film written by Melissa Mathison and directed by Martin Scorsese. It is based on the life and writings of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, the exiled political and spiritual leader of Tibet. Tenzin Thuthob Tsarong, a grandnephew of the Dalai Lama, stars as the adult Dalai Lama, while Tencho Gyalpo, a niece of the Dalai Lama, appears as the Dalai Lama's mother.
Mathison was born on June 3, 1950, in Los Angeles, one of five siblings. Her father, Richard Randolph Mathison, was the 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.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.
Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of nearly four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine founded in 1933.
The University of California, Berkeley is a public research university in Berkeley, California. It was founded in 1868 and serves as the flagship institution of the ten research universities affiliated with the University of California system. Berkeley has since grown to instruct over 40,000 students in approximately 350 undergraduate and graduate degree programs covering numerous disciplines.
With Coppola’s encouragement, she wrote a script for The Black Stallion, adapted from the novel, that caught the attention of Steven Spielberg.
Steven Allan Spielberg is an American filmmaker. He is considered one of the founding pioneers of the New Hollywood era and one of the most popular directors and producers in film history. Spielberg started in Hollywood directing television and several minor theatrical releases. He became a household name as the director of Jaws (1975), which was critically and commercially successful and is considered the first summer blockbuster. His subsequent releases focused typically on science fiction and adventure films, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and Jurassic Park (1993) are seen as archetypes of modern Hollywood escapist filmmaking.
Mathison wrote the screenplay for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in collaboration with Steven Spielberg. It was nominated for an Oscar for best original screenplay.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. 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 .
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 American science fiction film produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, and written by Melissa Mathison. It features special effects by Carlo Rambaldi and Dennis Muren, and stars Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore, and Pat Welsh. It tells the story of Elliott (Thomas), a boy who befriends an extraterrestrial, dubbed "E.T.", who is stranded on Earth. Elliott and his siblings help E.T. return to his home planet, while attempting to keep him hidden from the government.
Raiders of the Lost Ark is a 1981 American action adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Lawrence Kasdan from a story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman. It was produced by Frank Marshall for Lucasfilm Ltd., with Lucas and Howard Kazanjian as executive producers.
The BFG is a 2016 American fantasy adventure film directed and produced by Steven Spielberg, written by Melissa Mathison and based on Roald Dahl’s 1982 novel of the same name. The film stars Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Jemaine Clement, Rebecca Hall, Rafe Spall, and Bill Hader. In the film, an orphan human girl befriends a benevolent giant, dubbed the "Big Friendly Giant", who takes her to Giant Country, where they attempt to stop the man-eating giants that are invading the human world.
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.
Tibet is a region covering much of the Tibetan Plateau in modern-day China. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpa, Tamang, Qiang, Sherpa, and Lhoba peoples and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han Chinese and Hui people. Tibet is the highest region on Earth, with an average elevation of 5,000 m (16,000 ft). The highest elevation in Tibet is Mount Everest, Earth's highest mountain, rising 8,848 m (29,029 ft) above sea level.
The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) is a non-profit advocacy group working to promote democratic freedoms for Tibetans, ensure their human rights, and protect Tibetan culture and the environment. Founded in 1988, ICT is the world's largest Tibet-related NGO, with several thousand members and strong bases of support in North America and Europe. On March 15, 2018, the ICT completed 30 years of service to the Tibetan community and received a video message from the Dalai Lama. ICT also released its new logo. An event was also held in the United States Congress on March 6, 2018 to mark the event with Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Jim McGovern, ICT Chairman Richard Gere, Representative Ngodup Tsering and ICT Board Member Tempa Tsering making remarks.
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.
Her final film, The BFG , was dedicated in her memory.
|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 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 film|
|1995||The Indian in the Cupboard||Family-adventure|
|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
Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, film composer, and vintner. He was a central figure in the New Hollywood filmmaking movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
The Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay is one of the Academy Awards, the most prominent film awards in the United States. It is awarded each year to the writer of a screenplay adapted from another source. All sequels are automatically considered adaptations by this standard.
Anne Spielberg is an American screenwriter and the sister of film director Steven Spielberg.
Sofia Carmina Coppola is an American screenwriter, director, producer, and former actress.
Kathleen Kennedy is an American film producer and the president of Lucasfilm. In 1981, she co-founded the production company Amblin Entertainment with Steven Spielberg and husband Frank Marshall.
Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama is the second autobiography of the 14th Dalai Lama, released in 1991. The Dalai Lama's first autobiography, My Land and My People, was published in 1962, a few years after he reestablished himself in India and before he became an international celebrity. He regards both of the autobiographies as authentic and re-issued My Land and My People in 1997 to coincide with the release of the film Kundun.
The Sugarland Express is a 1974 American crime drama film co-written and directed by Steven Spielberg in his theatrical feature directorial debut. It stars Goldie Hawn, Ben Johnson, William Atherton, and Michael Sacks.
A script doctor is a writer or playwright hired by a film, television or theatre production to rewrite an existing script or polish specific aspects of it, including structure, characterization, dialogue, pacing, themes and other elements.
Night Skies is an unproduced science fiction horror film that was in development in the late 1970s. Steven Spielberg conceived the idea after Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Instead, material developed at the time was used in Poltergeist and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
Troy Beyer is a psychologist, author, director, screenwriter and actress. Beyer is a Clinical Psychology doctoral candidate, a Certified Anger Management Specialist (CAMS), a certified HeartMath Trainer and she is certified in the field of Industrial-Organizational Psychology (IOP). Beyer holds a master's degree in Depth Psychology with an emphasis in Liberation, Community, and Eco-Psychology.
The 8th Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, honoring the best filmmaking of 1982, were announced on 11 December 1982.
Dalai Lama Renaissance is a 2007 feature-length documentary film, produced and directed by Khashyar Darvich, and narrated by actor Harrison Ford. The film documents the Dalai Lama's meeting with the self-titled "Synthesis" group, made up of 40 Western "renaissance" thinkers who hope to use the meeting to change the world and resolve many of the world's problems. The meeting took place at the Dalai Lama's home in Dharamsala, India in September, 1999.
Melissa Anne Rosenberg is an American screenwriter. She has worked in both film and television and has won a Peabody Award. She has also been nominated for two Emmy Awards, and two Writers Guild of America Awards. Since joining the Writers Guild of America, she has been involved in its board of directors and was a strike captain during the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. She supports female screenwriters through the WGA Diversity Committee and co-founded the League of Hollywood Women Writers.
The BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay is a British Academy Film Award for the best script. It was awarded from 1968 to 1982. In 1983 it was split into BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay and BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Alden Caleb Ehrenreich is an American actor. He made his feature-film debut in Francis Ford Coppola's Tetro in 2009, and also appeared in Coppola's subsequent film, Twixt (2011). In 2013, he appeared in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine and Park Chan-wook's Stoker. In 2016, Ehrenreich gained significant critical praise for his starring role as Hobie Doyle in the Coen brothers comedy Hail, Caesar! and for his leading role in Warren Beatty's romantic comedy-drama Rules Don't Apply. He played Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story, which focuses on the early years of the character, before the events of A New Hope.
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