UPDATE: Influential science fiction and fantasy author Richard Matheson (I Am Legend, The Twilight Zone) died yesterday from natural causes at his home, surrounded by friends and family. He was 87. “For having such a fantastic imagination, he passed very peacefully,” son Richard Matheson Jr. told Deadline. “He was not only a monumental talent, he was also every bit a father, friend, and husband.” Friend and fellow author Harlan Ellison wrote today, “I am downsmashed.”
The celebrated writer began his 6-decade-plus career in 1950 with the story “Born Of Man And Woman,” published in The Magazine Of Fantasy And Science Fiction. Matheson’s best-known and oft-adapted works ranged from short stories like “Button, Button” (which Richard Kelly adapted into The Box) to novels including I Am Legend (adapted four times into features The Last Man On Earth, The Omega Man, I Am Omega and I Am Legend). Matheson wrote more than a dozen episodes of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone — including “Nightmare At 20,000 Feet,” starring William Shatner, which was remade as a segment of 1983’s Twilight Zone: The Movie — and penned the evil Kirk “Enemy Within” episode of Star Trek.