Birthday: March 3, 1950
T V & Movie Producers
Died At Age: 61
Sun Sign: Pisces
Also Known As: Laura Ellen Ziskin
Born Country: United States
Born in: San Fernando Valley, California, United States
Famous as: Film Producer
Spouse/Ex-: Alvin Sargent (m. 2010), Julian Barry (m. 1978 - div. )
father: Jay Ziskin
mother: Elaine Edelman
children: Julia Barry
Died on: June 12, 2011
place of death: Santa Monica, California, United States
Cause of Death: Breast Cancer
U.S. State: California
education: USC School of Cinematic Arts
Laura Ziskin was an American film producer and writer, who had produced several movies such as ‘What About Bob?’, ‘To Die For’, and the popular ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy. Ziskin was born in the San Fernando Valley, California, to a Jewish family. She began her career writing for game shows, and soon became film producer Jon Peters’ personal assistant. She soon became a development executive and worked in films such as ‘A Star Is Born’. She was an associate producer of the mystery thriller film ‘The Eyes of Laura Mars’. Few years later, along with Sally Field, she formed the production house Fogwood Films. The first film she produced under the company was ‘Murphy’s Romance’. Ziskin’s first successful work was the 1990 romantic comedy film ‘Pretty Woman’, which starred Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. Ziskin also became the first woman ever to produce the Academy Awards telecast alone, at the 74th Academy Awards and the 79th Academy Awards in 2002 and 2007, respectively. She passed away at her home in Santa Monica, California, in June 2011 due to breast cancer.
Childhood & Early Life
Laura Ziskin was born on 3rd March 1950, in the San Fernando Valley in California, to Jay Ziskin and Elaine Edelman. Her father was a lawyer and a psychologist.
Ziskin graduated in 1973, from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, after which she wrote material for game shows. After some time, she became an assistant of producer Jon Peters. She worked on the 1976 film ‘A Star Is Born’. In 1978, she was also associate producer of the film ‘The Eyes of Laura Mars’.
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In 1984, Laura Ziskin founded Fogwood Films along with Sally Field. The first film produced by her company was ‘Murphy’s Romance’. Directed by Martin Ritt, the film did well commercially, earning $ 30 million on a budget of $ 13 million. It received mostly positive reviews, and was also nominated for two Oscars. In 1987, she was an independent producer for the political thriller film ‘No Way Out’. It was a commercial and critical success.
She produced three films that released in 1988, which included ‘D.O.A.’, ‘The Rescue’, and ‘Everybody’s All-American’. None of the films found much success.
Her next work was the 1990 film ‘Pretty Woman’, where she was an executive producer. The film was directed by Garry Marshall. The film was a huge success at the box office.
In 1991, she produced two films: ‘What About Bob?’, and ‘The Doctor’. Both the films did quite well commercially. She was also a co-writer for the former.
In 1992, she produced and co-wrote the comedy-drama ‘Hero’. It bombed at the box office.
In 1995, she produced the film ‘To Die For’. The film didn’t do too well commercially, although it received positive reviews. Her next work was the 1997 romantic comedy film ‘As Good As It Gets’, for which she was an executive producer. Made on a budget of $50 million, the film went on to earn over $300 million. It was also nominated for seven Oscars, out of which it won two..
In 2002, she was a co-producer for the superhero film ‘Spider-Man’, which was directed by Sam Raimi. It was based on the popular Marvel Comics character of the same name. The film was made on a budget of nearly $ 140 million, and it became a huge success internationally, earning over $ 800 million. The film was also well-received by critics and audience.
She also co-produced the film’s sequel ‘Spider-Man 2’, which released in 2004. The sequel was also a commercial success, and earned positive reviews, as well as several awards and nominations. The next year, she co-produced the military sci-fi film ‘Stealth’, which turned out to be a commercial disaster.
Her next film as a producer was ‘Spider-Man 3’, the third film of the ‘Spiderman trilogy’. It released in 2007. Also directed by Sam Raimi, film did quite well commercially, though reviews were mostly mixed. She was also producer for the 2012 film ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’, and the 2013 film ‘The Butler’, though the films released after her death. Both the films were commercially successful and received positive reviews.
Laura Ziskin’s first successful work was the 1990 romantic comedy film ‘Pretty Woman’, which was directed by Garry Marshall. She was an executive producer for the film. The films starred Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in the lead roles. The story was about a sex worker, who is hired by a wealthy businessman as his escort. The film did quite well commercially as well as critically.
Her most popular work as producer is the 2002 superhero film ‘Spider-Man’, which was directed by Sam Raimi. The film starred Tobey Maguire in the titular role, of a genius named Peter Parker, who develops superhuman spider-like abilities after being bitten by a genetically-altered spider. Based on the popular Marvel Comics character, the film did quite well commercially, and also received positive reviews. She also produced the two sequels, which were also directed by Sam Raimi.
Laura Ziskin was twice married. Her first husband was Julian Barry, with whom he had one child. After their divorce, she married Alvin Sargent in 2010.
She passed away on 12 June 2011, due to breast cancer, at her home in Santa Monica, California.