Sad news out of Hollywood: 61-year-old producer Laura Ziskin, the force behind such hits as Pretty Woman and As Good As It Gets, passed away after a seven-year battle with breast cancer. But the trailblazing film executive's legacy will live on in a number of ways: Even though she was known for helping to shatter the movie industry's glass ceiling, women from every walk of life can be inspired by Ziskin's refusal to let breast cancer keep her down.
On a tip from fellow producer (and breast cancer survivor) Lauren Shuler Donner, Ziskin worked harder than ever after her diagnosis. The lively atmosphere on movie sets was like therapy, providing an antidote to the fear and despair so many cancer patients experience.
Despite her physical condition, Ziskin produced two of her career's biggest blockbusters while she was receiving treatment -- the second and third installments of the Spider-Man franchise. She even managed to throw herself into finding a cure for breast cancer, founding the charity Stand up to Cancer.
Celebrties from Jimmy Fallon and Jack Black to Sheryl Crow and Sarah Jessica Parker have flocked to the cause, many of them appearing on the Ziskin-produced annual TV special Stand Up to Cancer. Since her passing, stars including Jonah Hill of Superbad fame are urging fans to make donations to the charity in Ziskin's memory.
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