Ziskin Recalled

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/Newscom

Friends and co-workers remember a life that ranged from movie sets to her impassioned campaign to beat cancer.

Sid Ganis
Former Academy president who asked her to produce the 79th Oscars

"I knew her when she was an assistant to Jon Peters on the Warner Bros. lot. When I think of her 37 years ago, the smile never changed between then and her last days. The voice never changed. Her charm never changed. And her guts were the same back then when she had to deal with Jon as they were when she had to deal with gigantic Spider-Man issues. I had the opportunity to hire her during a certain part of her illness [to produce her second Oscar show]. I did my best to convince her it would be a good thing for her, and ultimately I think it was her husband, Alvin, who gave her the word that finally put her over the top. She did a bang-up show. It was concise and funny as all get-out. It was a good year for the Oscars."

Tobey Maguire
Star of the first three Spider-Man films

"I worked closely with Laura for 10 years. Our loss is a great one. My gifts from knowing and working with Laura are many and profound. My heart is with Alvin and Julia in this difficult time."

Sally Field
Star of Ziskin's first film, Murphy's Romance

"Laura and I were producing partners for several years … I forget how many, with offices located at the old Columbia building now owned by Warner Bros. Laura's fabulous office had no windows, and oddly enough, that was just fine with her.  When we first began our partnership, Laura was very pregnant with her beloved daughter Julia. I remember little Julia crawling around Laura's windowless room. I remember her learning to walk there.  I was not, unfortunately, at the dinner where Laura and Alvin first met, which happened to be on location of Murphy's Romance. But I did know that some kind of magic was happening that didn't all go on the screen. And that was Laura and Alvin … and Julia."

George Clooney
Star of her live TV production Fail Safe

"Everything Laura has done, she's done with passion and humor -- including her fight with cancer. She lost this battle, but she'll win the war. I couldn't be more proud to have known her."

Sherry Lansing
Co-founder of Stand Up to Cancer with Ziskin and others

"We knew she was sick, but she always bounced back. I don't believe any of us can believe she's gone. Because she had fought this disease so bravely -- I think she is the bravest person I have ever known in my life -- we thought she'd outlive all of us. I saw patients come up to her -- when you go public with the disease and you are alive and well, it gives hope to millions of people. One of the things Laura and I would talk about is that we remember when people who were being given chemotherapy would lie to their employees. That's over with. Laura would proudly come out with her bald head to say, 'This is nothing to be ashamed of; this is a disease.'  She made Stand Up to Cancer a vehicle in which to raise money for scientific research, and it really has changed the funding model. As Laura described herself, she was an impatient patient, and she was trying, along with all of us, to change the culture."

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