We have, unfortunately, lost another giant in the field of speculative fiction. Richard Matheson – author of, amongst others, I Am Legend and The Incredible Shrinking Man – has passed away at the age of 87.
Richard Matheson has long been one of my favourite authors, I have read and re-read I Am Legend, The (Incredible) Shrinking Man and The Legend of Hell House numerous times over the years and have frequently turned to his short stories as sources of both inspiration and pure entertainment.
As a writer his influence extended well beyond the printed word. Apart from the film adaptations of his work which included The Incredible Shrinking Man, Hell House, What Dreams May Come, Duel and, of course, I Am Legend (filmed three times with versions starring Vincent Price – the flawed but intriguing The Last Man on Earth – Charlton Heston – the ever-so funky Omega Man – and Will Smith – the deeply disappointing I Am Legend) he also wrote screenplays for Roger Corman (The Pit and the Pendulum, The Raven) and penned one of the best late period Hammer movies, The Devil Rides Out.
His television work included The Twilight Zone (in particular the classic episode Nightmare at 20,000 Feet featuring a young William Shatner at his twitchy, mannered best), The Night Stalker (long seen as an influence on Chris Carter’s X-Files) The Martian Chronicles and Dracula (starring Jack Palance) among many others.
A BBC obituary can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-23043116