Say Farewell to a Master: Richard Matheson Dead at Age 87

Here Be Dragons | 26 June 2013 | 0 Comments   

1926 – 2013

We’ve all been influenced by Richard Matheson, whether you realize it or not.  Stephen Spielberg’s first film, “Duel”, was based on one of his novellas.  His masterpiece, “I am Legend”, was made into a (terrible) movie, and influenced modern day masters such as Stephen King and George Romero.  He wrote myriad stories that were adapted into movies, like “The Box” (“Button, Button”), “Stir of Echoes”, “What Dreams May Come”, and “The Incredible Shrinking Man”.  He wrote some of the most memorable and powerful episodes of “The Twilight Zone”, including “Little Girl Lost”, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”, and “And When the Sky was Opened”.  He even wrote the popular “Star Trek” episode, “The Enemy Within”.

He was Richard Matheson.

His first story, “Born of Man and Woman”, was published in the third issue of “The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction” when Matheson was only 26 years old.  Following that, he wrote almost 30 full-length novels, all of them in the fantasy/sci fi and horror genres, and over a hundred short stories collected in numerous anthologies, many considered to be masterpieces of their respective genres.  

He was a big part of bringing horror, fantasy, and sci fi out of the pulp bins.  He influenced Stephen King, George Romero, Stephen Spielberg to become masters in their own rights.  Without him, many of the films, books, stories, and tv episodes we now consider to be classics would not exist.  Many have called him the father of modern horror.  

His son, Richard Christian Matheson, is considered a master in his own right, and is continuing in his father’s tradition of contributing to literature, television, and film with amazing works of fantasy, sci fi, and horror.

He died yesterday, at his home, at the age of 87.

I can say nothing else.

Rest in peace, sir, and thank you.

Art by Audra Phillips