R.I.P Richard Matheson (1926-2013)

Author: Sherry Helms

richard_mathesonLegendary American fantasy, sci-fi author and screenwriter Richard Matheson, much of whose work was adapted for the television and big screen, died on Sunday in Los Angeles, after a long illness at age 87. This very sad news was confirmed by a spokesperson for the Academy of science Fiction.

The celebrated writer is best known for his seminal work I Am Legend, a 1954 horror novel that has been inspired three different film adaptations, including 2007’s American post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller movie of the same name starring Will Smith. Along with I Am Legend, he penned 16 episodes of the original “Twilight Zone” television series for Rod Serling. He was also the screenwriter of Steven Spielberg’s 1971 TV movie debut “Duel“.

Born in Allendale, New Jersey to Norwegian parents, prolific Robert Matheson began his 6-decade-plus career in 1950 with a short story “Born Of Man And Woman,” that was published in The Magazine Of Fantasy And Science Fiction and his first novel Someone is bleeding was published in 1953 by Lion Books. As a youngster, he displayed an interest on a musical career, but his eager craving for fantasy ignited his imagination and blazed his passion. He crafted several stories that skillfully transitioned to both the big and small screens.

Several of his well-known works were adapted into movies, including Hell I Am LegendHouse (1953), I Am Legend(1954), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1956), A Stir of Echoes (1958), The Omega Man (1971), and What Dreams May Come (1978). Internet Movie Database credited him as the writer of at least 80 film and television productions over the course of his career.  

Richard Matheson’s also helped inspire a generation of genre writers. One of them was Stephen King, who dedicated his novel “Cellto Matheson, along with film producer George A. Romero. Moreover, American Gothic fiction writer Anne Rice cited him as the biggest influence on her own work.

During his lifetime, Richard Matheson received various awards. He won a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation for The Incredible Shrinking Man, which he shared with director Jack Arnold. He received both the World Fantasy (1984) and the Bram Stoker (1991) Awards, both for Life Achievement.

Matheson was scheduled to receive the Academy of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Films’s Visionary Award on Wednesday. The award will be presented posthumously. Moreover, the organization declared that 39th annual ceremony will now be dedicated to him.

Richard Matheson live in our hearts and will forever be remembered for his contributions to the world. 

Click here to see all of Richard Matheson’s books


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