Richard Matheson Dead: Top 10 Facts You Need to Know

Dark Dreamers featuring Richard MathesonAre you a Dark Dreamer? Stanley Wiater interviews the world's greatest horror/fantasy writers, artists, actors and filmmakers in close-up, insightful conversations originally recorded for the DARK DREAMERS television series. Complete 26-episode series is now available on DVD from Netflix, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. Or contact me at

The famed fantasy and sci-fi author and screenwriter Richard Matheson has died at age 87 reports The Guardian.

Matheson published his last book in 2011, Other Kingdoms.

Here’s what you need to know…

1. Four Hollywood Blockbusters Were Adapted From Matheson’s Writings

Many of his novels were adapted into screenplays and four became Hollywood blockbusters.

2. He Also Had a Highly Successful TV Writing Career

Richard Matheson Award SpeechThe legendary Richard Matheson accepts the Vampire Novel of the Century Award (presented by the Horror Writers Association) for his classic I AM LEGEND. Originally aired on March 31, 2012, at the presentation of the Bram Stoker Awards in Salt Lake City, Utah. Thanks to John Palisano for taping this.2012-04-04T19:43:50.000Z

He also ventured successfully into TV, writing episodes of The Twilight Zone and the original Star Trek.

3. He Was an Influence to Both Ray Bradbury and Stephen King

SciFi Department – Richard Matheson 101Kevin explores the work of Sci-Fi author, Richard Matheson.2007-12-12T21:21:58.000Z

Bradbury said of Matheson:

…one of the most important writers of the 20th century.

With Stephen King adding:

…the author who influenced me most as a writer.

A character named Richard Matheson appears in several episodes of The X-Files, a tribute to Matheson from show creator Chris Carter. Matheson’s work is discussed in the above video.

4. He Had Been Working on His Most Famous Novel Since His Teens

I Am Legend (2007) – Official Movie Trailer"I Am Legend" – Trailer for UK market. This movie was released in 2007.2007-10-25T22:09:01.000Z

He first thought of his seminal novel I Am Legend when he was just 16 years old. Matheson explained the idea for the novel:

The idea for I Am Legend came to me when I was about 16. I went to see Dracula and the thought occurred that, if one vampire was scary, a world filled with vampires would really be scary. I did not write the book until 1952. We lived in Gardena, California and I set the story there, using our house as Neville’s house. I think that ascribing metaphors to a book after it is written is silly. My son Richard provided a much more likely one- that it was prophetic because of AIDS. I don’t think the book means anything more than it is: the story of a man trying to survive in a world of vampires.

5. The News Was First Announced Through Facebook

His daughter released a statement on Facebook:

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…

6. Steven Spielberg Got His Start Through Matheson’s Work

Duel (1971) Theatrical TrailerTerror in your rear view mirror. Theatrical trailer for 1971's Steven Spielberg classic Duel, starring Dennis Weaver.2007-08-15T06:39:30.000Z

Spielberg’s first feature Duel was adapted from Matheson’s short-story of the same name.

7. Matheson Was a WWII Vet

He was a World War II veteran, serving as an infantry soldier.

8. Matheson Passed His Gifts on to His Children

He is survived by four children, three of whom, Chris, Richard Christian and Ali Matheson, are all writers in their own right.

9. After Leaving the Military, Matheson Went to Journalism School

Richard Matheson InterviewInterview with screenwriter Richard Matheson about his 1963 cult horror film The Comedy of Terrors.2012-04-02T05:11:41.000Z

He began his career as a journalist; he graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in the discipline in 1951.

10. Matheson Was a Jersey Boy

He had been battling an undisclosed illness for some time. He was born in New Jersey, grew up in Brooklyn but died in California.