Melissa Mathison, E.T. writer and ex-wife of Harrison Ford, dies

Harrison Ford (left) and Melissa Mathison (right) with Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, on Aug 1, 1996.
Harrison Ford (left) and Melissa Mathison (right) with Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, on Aug 1, 1996.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Melissa Mathison, the former wife of actor Harrison Ford and the writer of the screenplay for the enchanting 1982 family movie E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, died on Wednesday (Nov 4), the American media said. She was 65.

She died of cancer at a Los Angeles area hospital, the Los Angeles Times said, citing her brother Dirk Mathison.

The screenplay for director Steven Spielberg's E.T. was nominated for an Oscar.

"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.

Mathison's other credits include The Black Stallion (1979), The Escape Artist (1982), and The Indian In The Cupboard (1995), all movies starring young actors.

She also wrote screenplays for Kundun (1997), about the Dalai Lama's youth, and for The BFG, a family film about children and a giant due out in mid-2016 and also directed by Spielberg.

Mathison married Ford in 1983 and the couple had two children, Malcolm and Georgia. They divorced in 2004.