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'Spider-Man' movie franchise producer Laura Ziskin dies at 61

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Laura Ziskin, one of the most successful female movie producers in history, died Sunday at her home in Santa Monica, Calif., after a seven-year battle with breast cancer, Variety reported. She was 61. In addition to overseeing Sony’s Spider-Man franchise, whose three films have grossed nearly $1.2 billion domestically, Ziskin produced or exec produced such movies as Pretty Woman, To Die For, and As Good As It Gets. The president of Fox 2000 from 1994 to 2000, Ziskin also exec produced the Academy Awards in 2002 and 2007.

“Laura was my closest friend,” Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, said in a statement. “She was an inspiring warrior who fought every battle, whether it was business or personal, with her trademark brains, guts, and class. She was the creative guiding light for all of us who loved and worked with her. She was also a frustrating perfectionist and that’s why she was simply the best. We are heartbroken and miss her terribly already — as a producer, as an advocate for cancer research, but most importantly, as an irreplaceable friend.”

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