Producer Laura Ziskin Dies At 61

Laura ZiskinLaura Ziskin, producer of more than twenty films over the course of thirty years, passed away after a battle with breast cancer on Sunday, June 12. In addition to her work in cinema, Ziskin was a co-founder of the well-known organization Stand Up to Cancer, and a frequent campaigner against the disease.

Some of her better known productions include the classic romantic comedy Pretty Woman, the James L. Brooks slice-of-life As Good as it Gets, starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt, and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, as well as the first installment of Marc Webb’s reboot of the series. Furthermore, Ziskin was responsible for the production of the 2002 and 2007 Academy Awards ceremonies.

The producer’s trial with breast cancer began in 2004, subsiding after several treatments. In 2009, the cancer returned, spreading to her liver and bones. Ziskin’s involvement in charity did not stop at Stand Up to Cancer: she was also heavily involved in Education First and the National Council for Jewish Women. Friends and colleagues attribute Ziskin with credit for paving the way for female producers in Hollywood.

Ziskin was 61 at her time of death. Her husband, screenwriter Alvin Sargent, who worked with his wife on Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3, and her daughter Julia from a previous marriage, request that people continue to support Ziskin’s cause of Stand Up to Cancer.

Source: Variety

Staff editor Michael Arbeiter’s natural state of being can best be described as “mild panic attack.” His earliest memories of growing up in Queens, New York, involve nighttime conversations with a voice from his bedroom wall (the jury’s still out on what that was all about) and a love for classic television that spawned from the very first time he was allowed to watch “The Munsters.” Attending college at SUNY Binghamton, a 20-year-old Michael learned two things: that he could center his future on this love for TV and movies, and that dragons never actually existed — he was kind of late in the game on that one.