Richard Burton Matheson, an author and screenwriter.
It may not sound like much but to his fans he was so much more than that, he created alternate worlds that took us away from reality and got your imagination to go into overdrive.
I'm one of those people, I remember picking up a very worn and torn copy of "I Am Legend" and being engrossed in every page and not stopping till I reached the end. It was a life changing moment for me and one that I look back on fondly, I felt like I'd found an undiscovered novelist. Obviously I was very naive and soon found out he was a big name, I went on to read his other works such as "The Shrinking Man", "What Dreams May Come", "A Stir Of Echoes" and "Hell House".
There was also his film work with Dan Curtis, "The Night Stalker", "Dracula" and "Trilogy Of Terror" which I love. Also his amazing script work for Roger Corman’s Poe films like "Pit And The Pendulum", "Tales Of Terror", "The Fall Of The House Of Usher" and "The Devil Rides Out" (According to Corman himself, Matheson's scripts were so good that Corman usually used the first draft with a minimum of rewrites). And we can't forget his fantastic work on "The Twilight Zone", my personal favourite being "Nightmare At 20,000 Feet".
On Monday 24th June, when I heard of his passing, I initially thought it was just an internet rumour. Then when I realised it wasn't I felt a great sadness, our genre lost one of it's true greats. His daughter posted an announcement on her Facebook page:
“My beloved father passed away yesterday [June 23, 2013] 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…”
He was a huge influence on many people, even Stephen King has stated that Matheson is one if his favourite writers. Of his four children, three also became writers. Chris Matheson, Ali Marie Matheson and Richard Christian Matheson, how much more influential can you get.
It's a very sad situation but we can take solace in the fact he passed away peacefully surrounded by his loved ones. He will be greatly missed but he has left a great legacy for us all to enjoy, Rest In Peace Richard Matheson and thank you, thank you for everything.
"I hope people are reading my work in the future. I hope I have done more than frightened a couple of generations. I hope I've inspired a few people one way or another". - Richard Matheson