Sci-Fi Author Richard Matheson Dies at 87

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Influential science fiction and fantasy author Richard Matheson (I Am Legend, The Twilight Zone) passed away yesterday at his home, his family confirmed in a private Facebook message. He was 87. The celebrated writer began his 6 decade-plus career in 1950 with the story “Born of Man and Woman,” published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. “I am downsmashed,” wrote friend and fellow author Harlan Ellison today. Matheson’s best-known and oft-adapted works ranged from short stories like “Button, Button” (which Richard Kelly adapted into The Box) to novels like I Am Legend (adapted four times into features The Last Man on Earth, The Omega Man, I Am Omega and I Am Legend). Matheson wrote over a dozen episodes of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone and penned the “evil Kirk “Enemy Within” episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. Over the decades Hollywood turned to his writing for its twisty but humanist genre storytelling. Films adapted from his works include The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), Steven Spielberg’s Duel (1971), Somewhere in Time (1980), the Twilight Zone episode “Nightmare At 20,000 Feet,” starring William Shatner and remade as a segment of 1983’s Twilight Zone: The Movie, the Will Smith-starrer I Am Legend (2007), and Real Steel (2011). During his career Matheson was nominated for a Writers Guild Association award for 1985′s Amazing Stories and won the Hugo Award, The Edgar Allen Poe Award, the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Horror Writers Association, and a Lifetime Achievement award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films. Earlier this year he signed on to adapt his own The Incredible Shrinking Man for MGM with son Richard Jr.

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