LOS ANGELES — Laura Ziskin, who produced the “Spider-Man” movie franchise among many other hits in a 35-year Hollywood career, has died. She was 61.
Ziskin, who fought a seven-year battle against breast cancer, died Sunday evening at her Santa Monica home, according to a statement from the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
Over a 35-year career, Ziskin was producer or executive producer of such crowd-pleasers as “No Way Out” with Kevin Costner, “Pretty Woman” with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, and “As Good As It Gets,” which won Academy Awards for Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt.
She produced the three “Spider-Man” features and at the time of her death was working on a fourth, “The Amazing Spider-Man.”
In the 1990s, Ziskin was president for five years of Fox 2000 Pictures, a subsidiary of 20th Century Fox that released more serious or quirky fare, including “Fight Club” and Terrence Malick’s “The Thin Red Line,” which was nominated for seven Academy Awards.
She also produced the Academy Awards telecasts in 2002 and 2007. She was the first woman to be solo producer of the show.
Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, Ziskin joined with other women in the entertainment industry and the media to form Stand Up to Cancer, a nonprofit organization that has raised some $200 million to fight the disease.
Born in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, Ziskin studied filmmaking at the University of Southern California, wrote for game shows after graduating in 1973 and got her start in features as personal assistant to producer Jon Peters.
She is survived by her husband, screenwriter Alvin Sargent, and her daughter, Julia Barry.