Richard Matheson, celebrated novelist and scriptwriter, passed away earlier this week at the age of 87 in Los Angeles. At this time, no confirmed information is available as to how or why he died. He is survived by his wife and four children (three of whom are authors, as well). He was scheduled to receive the Visionary Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Films this Wednesday. The 39th annual Saturn Awards ceremony will be dedicated to him and he will receive the award posthumously.
Best known as an author, Matheson wrote stories that inspired artists from all walks of life. His best known novel, I Am Legend, has been adapted for film three credited times and has been an obvious influence for quite a few others. And while that is always the first book that leaps to mind, there are many others that have also been given life on the silver screen. His book What Dreams May Come is a favorite of mine, both in prose form and the film adaptation from 1998. Other adapted works include A Stir Of Echoes, Hell House and The Shrinking Man. Probably the most interesting adaptation was Duel, directed by a young Steven Spielberg, that was produced by Universal Studios as a made for TV movie.