Legendary science fiction and horror writer Richard Matheson passed away on Sunday at the age of 87.
Matheson was responsible for some of the most cutting edge and creative stories of the last half century including the novel I Am Legend, which was responsible for at least a half dozen similar creations including serving as inspiration for George Romero’s original zombie classic “Night of the Living Dead.”
The New Jersey native died at home with his family, who posted an update on Facebook via his daughter Ali Matheson.
My beloved father passed away yesterday at home surrounded by the people and things he loved…he was funny, brilliant, loving, generous, kind, creative, and the most wonderful father ever…I miss you and love you forever Pop and I know you are now happy and healthy in a beautiful place full of love and joy you always knew was there…
Matheson was hailed as one of the most prolific writers in the science fiction and horror community, routinely receiving praise from names like Stephen King and Anne Rice for the inspiration his work gave them in their own prose.
He worked on several films and television shows over the years including writing episodes of Star Trek and Twilight Zone. He worked with actor William Shatner on both shows, including his famous episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” where a plane passenger is haunted by a creature casually hanging onto the wing of the aircraft.
Matheson’s work would also go on to be adapted into several feature films including “What Dreams May Come” and “Stir of Echoes”.
His work influenced dozens of writers, screenplays and film adaptations, maybe none bigger than his 1954 novel I Am Legend. The book remains one of the most beloved and seemingly copied stories of the last century, and continues to influence a new generation of writers today.
In his passing the final line from his biggest work may seem most appropriate today—”I am a new superstition entering the unassailable fortress of forever. I am legend.”