Laura 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.