Richard Matheson, one of the preeminent voices of the scary and the fantastic passed away on Sunday at age 87. A screenwriter and author, Matheson’s significant influence on popular culture has touched several generations.
Among his more memorable works were the books I Am Legend (which was also adapted to film as The Last Man on Earth, The Omega Man, and I Am Legend), The Shrinking Man (filmed as The Incredible Shrinking Man), A Stir of Echoes (filmed as Stir of Echoes), Hell House (filmed as The Legend of Hell House), Bid Time Return (filmed as Somewhere in Time), and What Dreams May Come (filmed as What Dreams May Come).
As a screenwriter, Matheson worked on such varied projects as Jaws 3-D, and Loose Cannons and saw adaptations of his short stories expanded into features such as Real Steel and The Box.
Television was also a successful medium for the writer, contributing scripts to dozens of series such as The Twilight Zone (where he wrote 16 episodes), Star Trek, Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and such iconic television movies as Trilogy of Terror, The Night Stalker, The Night Strangler, Dreamer of Oz, The Martian Chronicles mini-series and Steven Spielberg’s debut feature, Duel.
On Twitter, the response to the passing of Matheson was a testament to his talent and legacy.
Richard Matheson was a close friend and the best screenwriter I ever worked with. I always shot his first draft. I will miss him.
— Roger Corman (@RogerCorman) June 25, 2013
Never met Richard Matheson, but his stories have been life companions. Books are human souls, in analog form. Go read his.
— Joe Hill (@joe_hill) June 24, 2013
To celebrate the Richard Matheson’s life, we’re going to watch the Zuni voodoo doll segment of Trilogy of Terror before bed. G’night all!
— Mark Millar (@mrmarkmillar) June 24, 2013
I never knew Richard Matheson, so have no personal anecdotes. But he was a giant, and YOU KNOW HIS STORIES, even if you think you don’t.
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) June 24, 2013
RIP Richard Matheson. I can’t even begin to describe what this man meant to me. I’m heartbroken right now. Godspeed, Mr. Matheson.
— Steve Niles (@SteveNiles) June 24, 2013
RIP Richard Matheson, author of I Am Legend, The Incredible Shrinking Man, and countless episodes of The Twilight Zone. He was a giant.
— Joe Dante (@joe_dante) June 24, 2013
RIP Richard Matheson, a direct inspiration to many people, so much art, great conversations and fun.
— Max Landis (@Uptomyknees) June 24, 2013
After the jump watch some examples of his work and be sure to check out his writing. You can do no wrong with any of books, but be sure to check out, in particular Nightmare At 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories, I Am Legend, and Hell House.