|Born||Richard Burton Matheson|
February 20, 1926
Allendale, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||June 23, 2013 87) (aged|
Los Angeles, California
|Pen name||Logan Swanson |
|Alma mater||University of Missouri|
|Genre||Science fiction, fantasy, horror|
|Notable awards||World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement, Science Fiction Hall of Fame (2010)|
Ruth Ann Woodson
Richard Burton Matheson (February 20, 1926 – June 23, 2013) was an American author and screenwriter, primarily in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres.
He is best known as the author of I Am Legend , a 1954 science fiction horror novel that has been adapted for the screen three times. Matheson himself was co-writer of the first film version, The Last Man on Earth , starring Vincent Price, which was released in 1964. The other two adaptations were The Omega Man , starring Charlton Heston, and I Am Legend , with Will Smith. Matheson also wrote 16 television episodes of The Twilight Zone , including "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" and "Steel", as well as several adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe stories for Roger Corman and American International Pictures – House of Usher , The Pit and the Pendulum , Tales of Terror and The Raven . He adapted his 1971 short story "Duel" as a screenplay, directed by Steven Spielberg for the television film of the same name that year.
In addition to I Am Legend and Duel, nine more of his novels and short stories have been adapted as motion pictures: The Shrinking Man (filmed as The Incredible Shrinking Man ), Hell House (filmed as The Legend of Hell House ), What Dreams May Come , Bid Time Return (filmed as Somewhere in Time ), A Stir of Echoes , Steel (filmed as Real Steel ), and Button, Button (filmed as The Box ). The movie Cold Sweat was based on his novel Ride the Nightmare, and Les seins de glace ( Icy Breasts ) was based on his novel Someone Is Bleeding. Both Steel and Button had previously been episodes of The Twilight Zone .
Matheson was born in Allendale, New Jersey, to Norwegian immigrants Bertolf and Fanny Matheson. They divorced when he was eight, and he was raised in Brooklyn, New York, by his mother. His early writing influences were the film Dracula (1931), novels by Kenneth Roberts, and a poem which he read in the newspaper Brooklyn Eagle ,  where he published his first short story at age eight.  He entered Brooklyn Technical High School in 1939, graduated in 1943, and served with the Army in Europe during World War II; this formed the basis for his 1960 novel The Beardless Warriors .   He attended the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri, earning his BA in 1949, then moved to California.  
His first-written novel, Hunger and Thirst, was ignored by publishers for several decades before eventually being published in 2010, but his short story "Born of Man and Woman" was published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction's summer 1950 issue, the new quarterly's third issue,  and attracted attention.  It is the tale of a monstrous child chained by its parents in the cellar, written in the form of the creature's diary and using non-idiomatic English. Later that year, Mattheson placed stories in the first and third issues of Galaxy Science Fiction , a new monthly.  His first anthology of work was published in 1954.  Between 1950 and 1971, he produced dozens of stories, frequently blending elements of the science fiction, horror, and fantasy genres.
He was a member of the "Southern California Sorcerers" group in the 1950s and 1960s, a collective of west coast writers which included Charles Beaumont, Ray Bradbury, George Clayton Johnson, William F. Nolan, Jerry Sohl, and others. 
Matheson's first novel to be published, Someone Is Bleeding, appeared from Lion Books in 1953.  In the 1950s, he published a handful of Western stories (later collected in By the Gun), and in the 1990s, he published Western novels such as Journal of the Gun Years, The Gunfight, The Memoirs of Wild Bill Hickok , and Shadow on the Sun.
His other early novels include The Shrinking Man (1956, filmed in 1957 as The Incredible Shrinking Man , again from Matheson's own screenplay) and a science fiction vampire novel, I Am Legend (1954, filmed as The Last Man on Earth in 1964, The Omega Man in 1971, and I Am Legend in 2007). In 1960, Matheson published The Beardless Warriors, a non-fantastic, autobiographical novel about teenage American soldiers in World War II. It was filmed in 1967 as The Young Warriors , though most of Matheson's plot was jettisoned.
Matheson wrote teleplays for several television programs, including the Westerns Cheyenne , Have Gun – Will Travel , and Lawman .  He also wrote the Star Trek episode "The Enemy Within" (1966). However, he is most closely associated with the American TV series The Twilight Zone , for which he wrote more than a dozen episodes,  including "Steel" (1963), "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" (1963), "Little Girl Lost" (1962), and "Death Ship" (1963). For all of his Twilight Zone scripts, Matheson wrote the introductory and closing statements spoken by creator Rod Serling.  He adapted five works of Edgar Allan Poe for Roger Corman's Poe series, including House of Usher (1960), The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), and The Raven (1963). 
For Hammer Film Productions, he wrote the screenplay for Fanatic (1965; US title: Die! Die! My Darling!), starring Tallulah Bankhead and Stefanie Powers and based on the novel Nightmare by Anne Blaisdell; he also adapted for Hammer Dennis Wheatley's The Devil Rides Out (1968). 
In 1971, Mattheson's short story "Duel" was adapted into the TV movie of the same name. In 1973, Matheson earned an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for his teleplay for The Night Stalker (1972), one of two TV movies written by Matheson and directed by Dan Curtis, the other being The Night Strangler (1973), which preceded the TV series Kolchak: The Night Stalker . Matheson worked extensively with Curtis; the 1977 television anthology film Dead of Night features three stories written for the screen by Matheson: "Second Chance" (based on the story by Jack Finney); "No Such Thing as a Vampire" (based on Matheson's story of the same name); and "Bobby", an original script written for this anthology by Matheson.
Three of his short stories were filmed together as Trilogy of Terror (1975), including "Prey" (initially published in the April 1969 issue of Playboy magazine), a tale of a Zuni warrior fetish doll. The doll later reappeared in the final segment of the belated sequel to the first movie, Trilogy of Terror II (1996), and "Bobby" from Dead of Night was refilmed with different actors for the second segment of the film.
Other Matheson novels adapted into films in the 1970s include Bid Time Return (1975, released as Somewhere in Time in 1980), and Hell House (1971, released as The Legend of Hell House in 1973), both adapted and scripted by Matheson himself.
In the 1980s, Matheson published the novel Earthbound , wrote several screenplays for the TV series Amazing Stories , and continued to publish short fiction.
Matheson published four Western novels in this decade, as well as the suspense novel Seven Steps to Midnight (1993) and the darkly comic locked-room mystery novel Now You See It ... (1995), dedicated to Robert Bloch.
He also wrote the screenplays for several movies, including the comedy Loose Cannons (1990) and the television biopic The Dreamer of Oz: The L. Frank Baum Story (1990), as well as a segment of Twilight Zone: Rod Serling's Lost Classics (1994) and segments of Trilogy of Terror II. Matheson continued to write short stories, and two more of his novels were adapted by others for the big screen: What Dreams May Come (1998) and A Stir of Echoes (1999, as Stir of Echoes ). In 1999, Matheson published a non-fiction work, The Path, inspired by his interest in psychic phenomena. 
Many previously unpublished novels by Matheson appeared late in his career, as did various collections of his work and previously unpublished screenplays. He also wrote new works, such as the suspense novel Hunted Past Reason (2002)  and the children's illustrated fantasy Abu and the 7 Marvels (2002).
Several of Mattheson's stories, including "Third from the Sun" (1950), "Deadline" (1959), and "Button, Button" (1970), are simple sketches with twist endings; others, like "Trespass" (1953), "Being" (1954), and "Mute" (1962), explore their characters' dilemmas over 20 or 30 pages. Some tales, such as "The Doll that Does Everything" (1954) and "The Funeral" (1955), incorporate satirical humor at the expense of genre clichés, and are written in bombastic prose that differed from Matheson's usual pared-down style. Others, like "The Test" (1954) and "Steel" (1956), portray the moral and physical struggles of ordinary people, rather than those of scientists and superheroes, in situations which are at once futuristic and quotidian. Still others, such as "Mad House" (1953), "The Curious Child" (1954) and "Duel" (1971), are tales of paranoia, in which the commonplace environment of the present day becomes inexplicably alien or threatening.
Matheson cited specific inspirations for many of his works. Duel was derived from an incident in which he and friend Jerry Sohl were dangerously tailgated by a large truck on the same day as the assassination of John F. Kennedy. 
According to film critic Roger Ebert, Matheson's scientific approach to the supernatural in I Am Legend and other novels from the 1950s and early 1960s "anticipated pseudorealistic fantasy novels like Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist ." 
In 1952, Matheson married Ruth Ann Woodson, whom he met in California. They had four children:  Bettina Mayberry, Richard Christian, Christopher Matheson and Ali Marie Matheson. Richard, Chris, and Ali became writers of fiction and screenplays.
Matheson died on June 23, 2013, at his home in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 87.   
Matheson received the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1984 and the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Horror Writers Association in 1991. The Science Fiction Hall of Fame inducted him in 2010.  
At the annual World Fantasy Conventions, he won two judged, annual literary awards for particular works: World Fantasy Awards for Bid Time Return as the best novel of 1975 and Richard Matheson: Collected Stories as the best collection of 1989.  
Matheson died just days before he was due to receive the Visionary Award at the 39th Saturn Awards ceremony. As a tribute, the ceremony was dedicated to him and the award was presented posthumously. Academy president Robert Holguin said, "Richard's accomplishments will live on forever in the imaginations of everyone who read or saw his inspired and inimitable work." 
Stephen King has listed Matheson as a creative influence, and his novels Cell (2006) and Elevation (2018) are dedicated to Matheson, along with filmmaker George A. Romero. Romero frequently acknowledged Matheson as an inspiration and listed the shambling vampire creatures that appear in The Last Man on Earth, the first film version of I Am Legend, as the inspiration for the zombie "ghouls" he envisioned in Night of the Living Dead . 
Anne Rice stated that Matheson's short story "A Dress of White Silk" was an early influence on her interest in vampires and fantasy fiction. 
After his death, several figures offered tributes to his life and work. Director Steven Spielberg said:
Richard Matheson's ironic and iconic imagination created seminal science-fiction stories and gave me my first break when he wrote the short story and screenplay for Duel. His Twilight Zones were among my favorites, and he recently worked with us on Real Steel . For me, he is in the same category as Bradbury and Asimov. 
Another frequent collaborator, Roger Corman, said:
Richard Matheson was a close friend and the best screenwriter I ever worked with. I always shot his first draft. I will miss him. 
On Twitter, director Edgar Wright wrote, "If it's true that the great Richard Matheson has passed away, 140 characters can't begin to cover what he has given the sci fi & horror genre." Director Richard Kelly added, "I loved Richard Matheson's writing and it was a huge honor getting to adapt his story 'Button, Button' into a film. RIP." 
For television films, see Television section below.
Robert Albert Bloch was an American fiction writer, primarily of crime, psychological horror and fantasy, much of which has been dramatized for radio, cinema and television. He also wrote a relatively small amount of science fiction. His writing career lasted 60 years, including more than 30 years in television and film. He began his professional writing career immediately after graduation, aged 17. Best known as the writer of Psycho (1959), the basis for the film of the same name by Alfred Hitchcock, Bloch wrote hundreds of short stories and over 30 novels. He was a protégé of H. P. Lovecraft, who was the first to seriously encourage his talent. However, while he started emulating Lovecraft and his brand of cosmic horror, he later specialized in crime and horror stories working with a more psychological approach.
I Am Legend is a 1954 post-apocalyptic horror novel by American writer Richard Matheson that was influential in the modern development of zombie and vampire literature and in popularizing the concept of a worldwide apocalypse due to disease. The novel was a success and was adapted into the films The Last Man on Earth (1964), The Omega Man (1971), and I Am Legend (2007). It was also an inspiration for George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968).
Charles Beaumont was an American author of speculative fiction, including short stories in the horror and science fiction subgenres. He is remembered as a writer of classic Twilight Zone episodes, such as "The Howling Man", "Static", "Miniature", "Printer's Devil", and "Number Twelve Looks Just Like You", but also penned the screenplays for several films, such as 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, The Intruder, and The Masque of the Red Death.
William Francis Nolan was an American author who wrote hundreds of stories in the science fiction, fantasy, horror, and crime fiction genres.
The Twilight Zone is an American media franchise based on the anthology television series created by Rod Serling. The episodes are in various genres, including fantasy, science fiction, absurdism, dystopian fiction, suspense, horror, supernatural drama, black comedy, and psychological thriller, often concluding with a macabre or unexpected twist, and usually with a moral. A popular and critical success, it introduced many Americans to common science fiction and fantasy tropes. The first series, shot entirely in black and white, ran on CBS for five seasons from 1959 to 1964.
Skeleton Crew is a collection of short fiction by American writer Stephen King, published by Putnam in June 1985. A limited edition of a thousand copies was published by Scream/Press in October 1985 (ISBN 978-0910489126), illustrated by J. K. Potter, containing an additional short story, "The Revelations of 'Becka Paulson", which had originally appeared in Rolling Stone magazine, and was later incorporated into King's 1987 novel The Tommyknockers. The original title of this book was Night Moves.
"Where Is Everybody?" is the first episode of the American anthology television series The Twilight Zone and was originally broadcast on 2 October 1959, on CBS. It is one of the most realistic Twilight Zone episodes, as it features no supernatural elements and is based on fairly straightforward extrapolation of science.
"And When the Sky Was Opened" is episode eleven of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on December 11, 1959. It is an adaptation of the 1953 Richard Matheson short story "Disappearing Act."
Henry Kuttner was an American author of science fiction, fantasy and horror.
Drexel Jerome Lewis Bixby was an American short story writer and scriptwriter. He wrote the 1953 story "It's a Good Life", which was the basis of a 1961 episode of The Twilight Zone and was included in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983). He wrote four episodes for the Star Trek series: "Mirror, Mirror", "Day of the Dove", "Requiem for Methuselah", and "By Any Other Name". With Otto Klement, he co-wrote the story upon which the science fiction movie Fantastic Voyage (1966), the related television series, and the related Isaac Asimov novel were based. Bixby's final produced or published work so far was the screenplay for the 2007 science fiction film The Man from Earth.
"Battleground" is a fantasy short story by American writer Stephen King, first published in the September 1972 issue of Cavalier magazine, and later collected in King's 1978 collection Night Shift.
"Button, Button" is the second segment of the 20th episode from the first season (1985–86) of the television series The Twilight Zone. The segment is based on the 1970 short story of the same name by Richard Matheson; the same short story forms the basis of the 2009 film The Box. It poses the question of whether an ordinary person would be willing to cause a total stranger to die in exchange for $200,000 by simply pushing a button. In a documentary on the making of the movie The Box, Matheson states the inspiration for the story came from his wife, whose college professor had asked a similar question as a way of promoting a class discussion.
"Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" is the third episode of the fifth season American television anthology series The Twilight Zone, based on the short story of the same name by Richard Matheson, first published in the short story anthology Alone by Night (1961). It originally aired on October 11, 1963, and is one of the most well-known and frequently referenced episodes of the series. The story follows a passenger on an airline flight who notices a hideous creature trying to sabotage the aircraft during flight.
George Clayton Johnson was an American science fiction writer, best known for co-writing with William F. Nolan the novel Logan's Run, the basis for the MGM 1976 film. He was also known for his television scripts for The Twilight Zone, and the first telecast episode of Star Trek, entitled "The Man Trap". He also wrote the story and screenplay on which the 1960 and 2001 films Ocean's Eleven were based.
"Steel" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. Set in the near future, its premise is that human professional boxing has been banned and replaced by android boxing. The story follows a once-famous human boxer who works as a manager for an antiquated android while struggling to come to grips with his career having been taken over by machines.
Charles Lewis Grant was an American novelist and short story writer specializing in what he called "dark fantasy" and "quiet horror". He also wrote under the pseudonyms of Geoffrey Marsh, Lionel Fenn, Simon Lake, Felicia Andrews, Deborah Lewis, Timothy Boggs, Mark Rivers, and Steven Charles.
The Twilight Zone is a nationally syndicated radio drama series featuring radio play adaptations of the classic 1959-64 television series The Twilight Zone. The series was produced for the British digital radio station BBC Radio 4 Extra airing for 176 episodes between October 2002 and 2012. In the United States, it aired on nearly 200 radio stations including WCCO, KSL, KOA, WIND, XM Satellite Radio channel 163 and Sirius XM Book Radio. Most of the stations aired two episodes each week, usually on the weekends and many times back to back.
Richard Christian Matheson is an American writer of horror fiction and screenplays, the son of fiction writer and screenwriter Richard Matheson. He is the author of over 100 short stories of psychological horror and magic realism which are gathered in over 150 major anthologies and in his critically hailed hardcover short story collections Scars and Other Distinguishing Marks, Amazon #1 bestseller Dystopia and Zoopraxis. He is the author of the suspense novel Created By and Hollywood novella of magic realism The Ritual of Illusion, and was the editor of the commemorative book Stephen King's Battleground. Matheson also adapted the short story which was made into an iconic episode of the TNT series Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King and won two Emmys.
Henry Slesar was an American author, playwright, and copywriter. He is famous for his use of irony and twist endings. After reading Slesar's "M Is for the Many" in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock bought it for adaptation and they began many successful collaborations. Slesar wrote hundreds of scripts for television series and soap operas, leading TV Guide to call him "the writer with the largest audience in America."
Night of the Eagle is a 1962 British horror film directed by Sidney Hayers. The script by Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson and George Baxt was based upon the 1943 Fritz Leiber novel Conjure Wife. The film was retitled Burn, Witch, Burn! for the US release.
... the things Serling said at the beginning and the end, in the wraparounds, which I wrote. I wrote all the wraparounds to my Twilight Zone episodes.
EMP SFM is proud to announce the 2010 Hall of Fame inductees: ...