Laura Ziskin, producer and activist was 61

Ziskin died at home in Santa Monica tonight after a long and public battle with breast cancer. Nikki Finke calls Ziskin "one of Hollywood’s leading independent producers and studio executives."

She is best known for producing the blockbuster Spider-Man film trilogy which broke box office records worldwide and became the highest grossing film franchise in Sony Picture Entertainment’s history. But she will be remembered most for her humanity as the proud producer of the historic three-network "Stand Up To Cancer" televised fundraisers....

Among the highlights of her movie career was 2002 when she produced the 74th Annual Academy Awards and became the first woman to ever produce the awards solo. The show was nominated for 8 Emmy Awards including Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special. Then, in 2007, Ziskin did it again, this time producing the first ever 'Green' Oscar ceremony. The show was nominated for 9 Emmy Awards.


After graduation, Ziskin started out writing for game shows and then became Jon Peters' personal assistant and then a development executive, moving into feature films with Jon Peters' production company where she worked on the 1976 remake of "A Star Is Born" with Barbra Streisand. In 1978, she was the associate producer of "The Eyes of Laura Mars."

In 1984, Ziskin partnered with Sally Field in Fogwood Films and produced "Murphy’s Romance," which yielded an Academy Award nomination for James Garner as Best Actor. She also produced "No Way Out" starring then newcomer Kevin Costner and Gene Hackman. In 1990, she was Executive Producer of "Pretty Woman," which remains one of the highest grossing films in Disney’s history.

Her life partner is screenwriter Alvin Sargent.

Variety: "Along with contemporaries that included the late Dawn Steel and Sherry Lansing, Ziskin was part of a generation of showbiz women who braved gender bias to rise to prominence as execs and producers in the 1980s and 1990s."

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