Richard Matheson passed away yesterday at the age of 87 at his home in California. A terrifically influential writer, Matheson's work in horror and science fiction has impacted generations of authors and filmmakers.
Plenty of Matheson's short stories and novels made their way to the big screen, the latest being Will Smith's "I Am Legend." Other works of his that have been adapted include "What Dreams May Come," "Stir of Echoes," Richard Kelly's "The Box" (based on a short story called "Button, Button"), "Somewhere in Time," and "The Legend of Hell House." Matheson also wrote for TV shows, including "The Twilight Zone," "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour," "The Martian Chronicles," "Star Trek," and "Circle of Fear."
The TV adaptation of his short story "Duel" helped boost the career of up-and-comer Steven Spielberg, who made this official statement about the author's passing:
"Richard Matheson's ironic and iconic imagination created seminal science-fiction stories and gave me my first break when he wrote the short story and screenplay for 'Duel'... His 'Twilight Zones' were among my favorites, and he recently worked with us on 'Real Steel.' For me, he is in the same category as Bradbury and Asimov."
Matheson's contributions to the arts go beyond TV and film, with writers as varied as Stephen King and Harlan Ellison hailing him as a huge influence. The Archive of American Television has posted clips from an extensive interview with Matheson, which you can check out here.