Richard Burton Matheson passed away June 23 this year (2013) at the age of 87. It is always sad to hear when a great author dies. For those of you who didn’t have the pleasure of knowing much about Richard Matheson here is an article dedicated to him:
Richard Burton Matheson was born in Allendale, New Jersey, USA on February 20th 1926. He was a writer best known in the genres of horror, fantasy and science fiction. His most well-known novels also turned into films would be I Am Legend, The Twilight Zone, The Shrinking Man and Hell House.
Richard was the third child of Norwegian immigrants of Bertolf Matheson and Fanny Matheson. Richard published his first short story in The Brooklyn Eagle when he was 8 years old. After graduating high school in 1943, Richard went on to join the military. He served as an infantry soldier during World War II. Then he studied a Bachelor of Journalism at Missouri University. The first story he made money from was Born of Man and Woman. This was published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Richard then went on in the years after to write many popular novels and screenplays.
“He is one of the most important writers of the 20th Century” – Ray Bradbury
Here are some facts that you may not have known about Richard Matheson:
His novel The Beardless Warriors described some of his experiences from war.
Something that Richard said in an interview about George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead: “… I watched it one night on television and thought to myself, gee, that’s awfully close to I am Legend. He I guess prefers to believe that it’s just derivation, but it seems pretty close to me.”
He married his wife Ruth Ann Woodson in 1952
The story Duel was inspired from an incident in 1963 after Richard was tailgated by a truck. It started when he was playing a game of golf and heard the news of President J.F.Kennedy being assassinated. He stopped playing his game and began to return home. On his journey home a truck tailgated him for a long period of time. Duel was then later adapted for a television-movie by Spielberg. This was the beginning of Spielberg’s career.
He nearly wrote the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Richard didn’t agree with Hitchcock about the actual birds. Richard believed that the audience shouldn’t see the birds very often. Where as Hitchcock wanted them seen a lot.
Richard came up with the idea for I Am Legend when he was 16 after seeing Dracula. He didn’t write the book until 1952.
Something that Richard said about screen-writing once: “One of my pet peeves is the fact that when people win awards – Academy Awards, notably – if it’s based on a novel, they never mention it. It’s as if the novel never existed. The screenwriter acts as if he’s made it up out of his own head. Sometimes even the director acts as if he’s made it up out of his own head. It’s an ego problem, of course, but it’s tremendously unfair as well.
Richard had four children and three of them have become writers.
Richard Matheson has left a great mark on the world. He will always be remembered.
Some of Richard Matheson’s writing that you should check out:
I Am Legend A Stir of Echoes Someone is Bleeding Fury on Sunday 7 Steps to Midnight
The Shrinking Man Hell House Hunger and Thirst The Gunfight What Dreams May Come
The Beardless Warriors Earthbound Woman Shadow on the Sun Passion Play Camp Pleasant
Other Kingdoms Generations Hunted Past Reason Now You See It… Abu and the 7 Marvels
Come Fygures Come Shadowes
Born of Man and Woman The Test Blood Son Miss Stardust Interest The Thing
The Last Day Deadline Slaughter House Wet Straw Death Ship The Edge A Drink of Water
One for the Books Pattern for Survival The Holiday Man The Doll Getting Together Shoo Fly
Tales of Terror The Box Real Steel The Devil Rides Out The Incredible Shrinking Man House of Usher
The Young Warriors Master of the World The Raven The Last Man on Earth The Pit and the Pendulum
De Sade Loose Cannons Fanatic The Legend of Hell House What Dreams May Come Burn Witch Burn
The Comedy of Terrors