Producer Laura Ziskin dies at 61 after enduring battle with cancer

laura-ziskin.jpgCelebrated producer Laura Ziskin has passed away after a seven-year battle with breast cancer. In 2002, Ziskin became the first woman to produce the Academy Awards telecast alone -- which she did again in 2007.

Ziskin's career took off when she and business partner Sally Field formed Fogwood Films, an independent production company, in 1984. Later, she produced "Pretty Woman" for Touchstone Films, and by 1995 she had formed Laura Ziskin Productions, under which she produced Nicole Kidman's "To Die For."

After becoming the president of Fox 2000, Ziskin produced "As Good As It Gets," which earned seven Academy Award nominations and Best Actor and Best Actress wins for Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt.

When she got a production deal with Columbia Pictures, Ziskin produced "Spider-Man" and its sequels.

Ziskin was shocked by a diagnosis of Stage 3 breast cancer in 2004. Because of the specific type of cancer, it had gone undetected. Perhaps her greatest feat was joining forces with Katie Couric, Sherry Lansing, the Entertainment Industry Foundation, the Noreen Fraser Foundation and Ellen Ziffren to form Stand Up to Cancer, pushing awareness and fundraising for cutting-edge cancer research.
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