American film producer Laura Ziskin, a veteran film producer who counted the "Spider-Man" franchise among her many credits and was one of the most influential women in recent Hollywood history, has died at 61.Ziskin, who was working on the reboot of "The Amazing Spider-Man" at the time of her death, had fought a seven-year battle with breast cancer. In 2008, she founded a nonprofit that has to-date raised more than $200 million to fight the disease.Although she was not well known among average film fans, Ziskin had a profound impact on what contemporary moviegoers watched at the multiplex.Although Ziskin had been based at the Sony Pictures lot for years, during the 1990s she also headed a division at 20th Century Fox, Fox 2000, that was responsible for the kind of serious dramas Hollywood studios rarely make these days, including "Courage Under Fire," "Fight Club" and "The Thin Red Line."
Ziskin also produced two Oscar telecasts, in 2002 and 2007. Her first effort was notable for landing Woody Allen, famously averse to awards-show hoopla. She was the first woman to produce the telecast on her own.Outside the film world she was best known for her efforts in helping to found Stand Up to Cancer, a research initiative she founded with Katie Couric, former Paramount chief Sherry Lansing and others. The organization, which held several high-profile Hollywood telethons,drew on the star power of the media and entertainment world to raise money for cancer research.