VJ Books Presents Author Richard Matheson!
Richard Matheson was born in Allendale, New Jersey and grew up in Brooklyn. After graduating from high school he joined the military fought in World War II as an infantry soldier. He earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of
Missouri in 1949 and moved to California a few years later. He married shortly there after, and had four children, three of whom became writers of fiction and screenplays.
His first short story, "Born of Man and Woman", appeared in the Magazine of
Fantasy and Science Fiction
in 1950. The story was a hit, and in the next twenty years he produced dozens of
stories, often combining elements of science fiction, horror
and fantasy. A few of his stories, like "The Doll
that Does Everything"
depart from Matheson's characteristic writing style in favor of satire, poking fun at genre cliches and embracing absurdly overblown prose.
Matheson wrote a number of
episodes for the American TV series The Twilight Zone, including the famous
Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. He also adapted the works of Edgar Allan Poe for Roger Corman and Dennis
The Devil Rides Out and scripted Steven
Spielberg's first feature, the TV movie
Duel, which is based on Matheson's own original short story.
He also contributed a number of scripts to the Warner Brothers western
The Lawman, and in 1973, Matheson earned an
Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for his teleplay for
, one of two TV movies written by Matheson that preceded
Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Matheson also wrote the
Fanatic (also known as Die! Die! My Darling! in the United States).
Matheson's novels include The
(filmed as The Incredible Shrinking Man, again from
Matheson's own screenplay), and a science fiction vampire novel,
, which has been filmed three times under the titles The Omega Man
and The Last Man on Earth as well as the original title. Yet more of his novels were turned into notable films including What Dreams May Come,
Stir of Echoes, Bid Time Return (as Somewhere in Time), and Hell House
The Legend of Hell House), the last
two being adapted and scripted by Matheson himself. Three of his short
stories were filmed together as Trilogy of Terror, including
its famous Zuni warrior doll.
Matheson also wrote The
, a non-fantastic, autobiographical novel about teenage
American soldiers in World War II.
He died at his home on June 23, 2013, at the age of 87.