Science fiction lost another great this month as Richard Matheson passed away on Sunday, June 23rd, 2013 after a long illness.
The author’s passing was first announced via a Facebook post daughter by his Ali Marie Matheson:
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…
Well-loved by science fiction fans, and cited as an influence to other science fiction creators such as Stephen King, The Night of the Living Dead’s George A. Romero (who claimed that the movie was really just a rip off of I am Legend) and The X-Files‘ Chris Carter (who named a character Richard Matheson), Matheson is best known for his work, I Am Legend, which has been been made into a movie repeatedly over the decades, with titles such as The Last Man on Earth and The Omega Man.
Starting off writing short stories, Matheson later went on to write novels that would be turned into some of the most famous science fiction and horror movies of the era, such as The Incredible Shrinking Man, What Dreams May Come, and The Legend of Hell House. He would also go on to pen one of the most well-remembered stories in the history of The Twilight Zone, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”, which featured William Shatner’s iconic line, “There’s… something on the wing.”
A World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, and Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement winner, Matheson received a well-deserved place in Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2010.
On Wednesday, June 26, the Academy of Science Fiction, Horror & Fantasy Films will honor the writer, by presenting him, posthumously, the Visionary Award in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the genre. Matheson had originally been scheduled to receive the award before his passing.
“We are heartbroken to lose a writer of towering talent, unlimited imagination and unparalleled inspiration,” said Academy President Robert Holguin. “Richard was a genius whose visions helped bring legitimacy and critical acclaim to science fiction and fantasy. He was also a longtime supporter of the Academy, and everyone associated with The Saturn Awards feels emptier today to learn of this enormous loss. Richard’s accomplishments will live on forever in the imaginations of everyone who read or saw his inspired and inimitable work.”
Our deepest sympathies go out to Matheson’s family, friends and fans in this time of sorrow. He, and his stories, will be missed.