Melissa Mathison

Melissa Mathison

American screenwriter
Date of Birth: 03.06.1950
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Melissa Mathison
  2. Early Life and Career
  3. Personal Life and Return to Screenwriting
  4. Later Career

Biography of Melissa Mathison

Melissa Mathison was an American screenwriter, born on June 3, 1950. She is best known for her work as a screenwriter for the films "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" and "Kundun." She was nominated for an Academy Award for her screenplay for "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial."

Melissa Mathison

Early Life and Career

Melissa grew up in the hills of Hollywood. Her father was a journalist, and her mother worked as a part-time publicist. The family was close friends with the renowned producer, screenwriter, and director Francis Ford Coppola, and Melissa even babysat his children. As a teenager, Melissa worked for "Time" magazine, as her father was a close friend of the owner.

Melissa Mathison

After graduating from high school, Melissa attended the University of California, Berkeley. However, she dropped out to work with Coppola on the set of "The Godfather, Part II." By the time she started working on "Apocalypse Now," Melissa had become an official executive assistant to the director. Coppola eventually recognized her talent as a screenwriter and decided to utilize her skills. They collaborated on the film "The Black Stallion" in 1979, which was based on the classic children's book by Walter Farley. Melissa co-wrote the screenplay with two other writers, and the film was praised for its seamless blend of the original story and cinematic techniques.

Personal Life and Return to Screenwriting

During the filming of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," Melissa met the up-and-coming actor Harrison Ford, whom she later married. They exchanged vows shortly after the release of "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial." For the next decade, Melissa dedicated her time to her family, only briefly returning to work on the screenplay for the biographical miniseries "Son of the Morning Star" for ABC.

It wasn't until thirteen years later that Melissa fully returned to her career as a screenwriter. Her first project after the hiatus was the adaptation of Lynn Reid Banks' novel "The Indian in the Cupboard." During the filming, Melissa had the opportunity to work with her "E.T." colleagues, producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall. The idea for the film perfectly suited Melissa's talent for creating heartwarming children's stories, and her innate observation skills allowed her to accurately portray the behavior and speech of children. The film received positive reviews, although it did not perform exceptionally well at the box office. However, it became a popular choice for home video rentals and sales.

Later Career

Melissa's next project was a more mature film. She wrote the screenplay for Martin Scorsese's film about the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, who was forced into exile nine years after the Chinese invasion. In 2008, she worked as a consultant for the Japanese animated film "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea" and also contributed to the English-language dubbing of the film.

Melissa Mathison was a talented screenwriter who left a lasting impact on the film industry. Her work on "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" and "Kundun" cemented her reputation as a skilled storyteller. Melissa passed away on November 4, 2015, leaving behind a legacy of memorable films.