In 1954 Richard Matheson published a ground-breaking story "I Am Legend". The story is about the last man on Earth, Robert Neville. The year is 1975, a virus starts to spread after the latest war is finally over. The speed of the virus is phenomenal. Science can't find the cure fast enough, as people drop […]
Richard Matheson was born on February 20, 1926, in Allendale, New Jersey. After his parents, Norwegian immigrants, Bertolf and Fanny divorced, his mother took him to Brooklyn, New York, where he attended school. After graduating high school at Brooklyn Technical High School, he spent time in the United States Army during World War II. When he returned home, Richard earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, in 1949. After finishing his degree, Richard settled in California. There he became a screenwriter, specializing in fantasy, horror, and science fiction.
One of the television shows he wrote for was "Twilight Zone". The iconic episode, "Nightmare at 2000 ft." was written by Richard. The opening and closing statements recited by Rod Sterling were his work, too. He also wrote Duel, which was the first movie made by Steven Spielberg.
After Richard became a novelist, many of his books were turned into movies, including "I Am Legend", which was made into a movie three times. "The Shrinking Man", "Hell House", "What Dreams May Come", and "A Stir of Echoes" were all books written by Richard that later became movies. Another of his books, "Bid Time Return", was made into the movie, "Somewhere in Turn".
In the 1950's and 1960's Richard was a member of a society of writers called the Southern California Sorcerers. Other members included Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, George Clayton Johnson, William F. Nolan and Jerry Sohl. In 1973 Richard won the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for a teleplay he wrote for the "Night Stalker". In 1984 was given the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, also the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Horror Writer's Association. In 2010 Richard was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
In 1952 Richard married Ruth Ann Woodson. Three of their four children, Richard Christian, and Chris and Ali followed in their father's footsteps and became writers. In 2013, Richard Matheson died quietly in his home, surrounded by friends and family. At his death, he was eighty-seven years old.
Stephen King dedicated his book, "Cell", to Richard Matheson. Listing him as his creative influence. George A. Romero said that his iconic movie, "Night of the Living Dead", was influenced by Richard's book, "I Am Legend". After reading "A Dress of White Silk" written by Richard, Anne Rice was influenced in writing her vampire and fantasy novels.
"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" Steven Spielberg.
Richard Matheson was a well loved and well respected writer. A genius of science fiction and fantasy, his work has become some of the most influential of all the writers in his genres in history.