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Thursday, June 27, 2013

I am Legend author dies

The BBC reports that Richard Matheson has passed away

Born in Allendale, New Jersey, in 1926 and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Matheson first began publishing science-fiction and horror stories in the 1950s.

"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," Spielberg said in a statement.

Steven Spielberg's first feature-length film, Duel, was based on Matheson's short story of the same name.

"His Twilight Zones were among my favourites, and he recently worked with us on Real Steel. For me, he is in the same category as [Ray] Bradbury and [Isaac] Asimov."

In a career spanning some 60 years, many of the author's works were adapted for both the big and small screens.

I Am Legend was his most successful, inspiring four film adaptations - most recently in 2007 starring Will Smith (pictured in a scene from the film).

The novel was considered a landmark work in the genre, ushering in apocalyptic themes to post-WWII America.

Vincent Price starred in the first adaptation in 1964, titled as The Last Man on Earth.

Charlton Heston later starred in the 1971 adaptation, Omega Man.

The 2007 version saw Smith star as Robert Neville - the seemingly last human on Earth - trying to find a cure for a genetically-engineered virus that has turned the population into mutant vampiric creatures.

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