Producer Sean Daniel's Tribute to Late 'E.T.' Screenwriter Melissa Mathison

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Melissa Mathison and Steven Spielberg

"I will never forget watching your sheer delight at the dailies of 'E.T.' that we all watched at Steven [Spielberg's] house in the evenings," Daniel writes in a touching message to Mathison, who died Nov. 4 of neuroendocrine cancer.

A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

There was your big laugh, big heart, big talent and deep love of the children you were mother to, and of the Earth you walked. You took all these things and created true art on film about who and what you cared about the most. E.T., Black StallionKundun and more.

Thank you so much for giving me the draft of A Boy's Life (the title Melissa and her director had decided on as the “cover name” for a certain story about Elliott and phoning home), at Teru Sushi in 1982, and for letting me read one of the simplest, strongest screenplays ever.

There were adventures on the set of E.T., among the eagles and herons along the Snake River in Jackson Hole, and that epic trip to celebrate the Day of the Dead in Oaxaca. I will never forget watching your sheer delight at the dailies of E.T. that we all watched at Steven's house in the evenings. Love and prayers to you and yours.

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