‘I Am Legend’ author Richard Matheson has died at 87

Richard Matheson
Author Richard Matheson passed away at home at age 87.
(Beth Gwinn / Tor/Forge)

Author Richard Matheson, who was 87, has died at home. His family announced his passing in a protected Facebook post; the news was shared by publisher Tor/Forge.

Matheson’s imaginative stories were enticing to Hollywood. His book “I Am Legend” was made into a film, not just once but three separate times. 2007’s “I Am Legend,” starring Will Smith, was preceded by "The Omega Man” with Charlton Heston in 1971 and “The Last Man on Earth” in 1964 with Vincent Price.

Matheson also wrote directly for the screen, penning 16 episodes of “The Twilight Zone” and one of “Star Trek.” He wrote the screenplay of “Duel,” directed in 1971 by Steven Spielberg.

Matheson was born in New Jersey in 1926 and published his first science fiction story 24 years later, in 1950. His career lasted for more than half a century; he published the novel “Other Kingdoms” in 2011.


“Ever since he started writing for sci-fi magazines and for ‘The Twilight Zone,’ Richard Matheson has been giving readers a grand tour in the gardens of menace,” wrote Nick Owchar in our pages. Book review contributor Jonathan Kirsch praised Matheson’s “genius for hard-wiring an entertaining story to the deepest and darkest impulses of human nature and human destiny.”

Matheson was a recipient of the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement, and was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2010.

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