Steven Spielberg directed the 1982 classic "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial," but he couldn't have brought the iconic character to life without screenwriter Melissa Mathison. Mathison died Wednesday, November 4 after an illness, her brother Dirk Mathison confirmed to Variety. She was 65.

In addition to her Oscar-nominated screenplay for "E.T." -- for which she also received an associate producer credit -- Mathison wrote scripts for "The Black Stallion," "The Escape Artist," "The Indian In The Cupboard," Martin Scorsese's "Kundun," and the upcoming Spielberg movie "The BFG," which is in post-production.

Mathison was also married to actor Harrison Ford for more than 20 years, from 1983-2004, and they have two children together, Malcolm and Georgia.
Spielberg and "Kundun" producer Barbara De Fina both shared statements after Mathison's death.

"She was a lovely woman, and it's a great loss," De Fina told Deadline. "She was a wonderful writer. The project was about the Dalai Lama but at the core was about a boy separated from his home. I think of her as being a great parent. The choices that she made were so interesting and unusual, and it was all about family. When I think of what she's written, it always comes back to family and home."

Spielberg told Variety, "Melissa had a heart that shined with generosity and love and burned as bright as the heart she gave E.T." He had previously said, of her "E.T." script, "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."

And that connection is still strong for viewers more than 30 years later. Rest in peace, Melissa.

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