RIP, Richard Matheson 1926-2013

This is still breaking news, and I don’t have a lot of details.  Renowned fantasy and horror author Richard Matheson has passed away at age 87.  According to Matheson’s daughter Ali, from a statement on John Shirley’s Facebook page:  “My beloved father passed away yesterday at home surrounded by the people and things he loved…he was funny, brilliant, loving, generous, kind, creative, and the most wonderful father ever…I miss you and love you forever Pop and I know you are now happy and healthy in a beautiful place full of love and joy you always knew was there…”

Matheson had been ill for some time.  His most famous work was the novel I am Legend.   He also wrote The Shrinking Man, screenplays for many of the best horror films of the 1960s, and a number of Twilight Zone episodes, including the classic “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”, starring William Shatner.  I’m working on a deadline tonight and will post a longer tribute in the next day or so.  I’ll just say for now that Matheson was one of the major fantasy authors to come out of what became known as the California School in the 1950s, which included such authors as Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, William F. Nolan, and George Clayton Johnson.  I devoured his stories when I was a teenager.

9 thoughts on “RIP, Richard Matheson 1926-2013

    1. Paul R. McNamee

      The scene that sticks with me from I Am Legend is when the hero realizes his watch has stopped. He is out from his base, it is dusk, and he must flee across town to get home while the vampires swarm.

      When he realized his watch is stopped, I literally said, “Oh, f*&^.” aloud. It’s not very often a book makes me react audibly. It is a fantastic unexpected moment of terror.

  1. Tom Doolan

    I was surprised to hear he had written the short story Real Steel, on which the film was loosely based. And even better, he liked the movie and approved of the changes in the story. I need to read some of his stuff.

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