Monday, June 24, 2013

A legend lost: Richard Matheson

According to a number of sources, Richard Matheson, author of I Am Legend, a number of Twilight Zone episodes, and a true master of dark fiction, has passed away at age 87.

Noted film critic Tim Lucas has a thread going which included the following: Ali Matheson, the daughter of Richard Matheson says this: "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 was a true master of the genre I love and an inspiration to many writers, artists and filmmakers including Steve Niles, Stephen King, George A. Romero and Steven Spielberg. Spielberg began his legacy with an adaptation of Matheson's Duel which has become a suspense classic.

I Am Legend was the direct inspiration for three films and Romero has said that the novel was a key component to his own living dead. The book was also named the greatest vampire novel of the 20th century by the Horror Writers Association.

Matheson also wrote a number of Roger Corman's Poe pictures which starred Vincent Price.

Coming about a year after we lost Ray Bradbury and so soon after the passing of Ray Harryhausen, this is particularly sad. The last exposure many people will have had to Matheson is an episode of Family Guy. 

We're lucky that Matheson has been so inspirational. While no one could replace him, we will continue to have generations of aspiring writers doing their best.

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