Tag Archives: Obituary

Richard Matheson, Author, Screenplay Writer & Science Fiction Legend, Dies At Age 87

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Author Richard Matheson has passed away at the age of 87 at his home in Calabasas, California his family announced in a private Facebook post Monday.

Matheson’s novels include iconic works like I Am Legend, The Incredible Shrinking Man, What Dreams May Come, Hell House and A Stir of Echoes while his short story output has been adapted as everything from episodes of “The Twilight Zone” to the recent big screen sci-fi tale Real Steel. Among his countless contributions to genre storytelling, Matheson penned the original “Star Trek” episode “The Enemy Within” and supplied the screenplay for Steven Spielberg’s early telefilm Duel.

Matheson, who was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2010, inspired many of the major names in science fiction, fantasy and horror writing. The 1995 reprint of “I Am Legend” featured praise from Ray Bradbury, “Psycho” author Robert Bloch, and Stephen King, who called Matheson “the author who influenced me the most as a writer.” King’s 2006 novel, “Cell,” is dedicated to Matheson.

King paid tribute to Matheson his site today:

“We’ve lost one of the giants of the fantasy and horror genres. From The Beardless Warriors, his brilliant (and largely unread) World War II novel, to The Incredible Shrinking Man and all the wonderful Twilight Zone scripts and stories, Matheson fired the imaginations of three generations of writers. Without his I Am Legend, there would have been no Night of The Living Dead; without Night of The Living Dead, there would have been no Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, or World War Z. 

Matheson wrote the script for Steven Spielberg’s extraordinary film, Duel, and created one of the most brain-freezingly frightening haunted
house novels of the 20th century in Hell House. He fired my imagination by placing his horrors not in European castles and Lovecraftian universes, but in American scenes I knew and could relate to. “I want to do that,” I thought. “I must do that.” Matheson showed the way. In addition to that, he was a gentleman who was always willing to give a young writer
a hand up. I will miss his kindness and erudition. He lived a full life, raised a fine family, and gave us unforgettable stories, novels, TV shows, and movies. That’s good. Nevertheless,

I mourn his loss. A uniquely American voice has been silenced.”

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Ray Harryhausen, Stop Motion Animation Pioneer (1920-2013)

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The family of Ray Harryhausen has announced that he has died at the age of 92. Ray Harryhausen is well regarded as a pioneer in the stop-motion animation world, known for creating a technique called Dynamation.

Here’s the statement from his family:

Raymond Frederick Harryhausen
Born: Los Angeles 29th June 1920
Died: London 7th May 2013.

The Harryhausen family regret to announce the death of Ray Harryhausen, Visual Effects pioneer and stop-motion model animator. He was a multi-award winner which includes a special Oscar and BAFTA. Ray’s influence on today’s film makers was enormous, with luminaries; Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, George Lucas, John Landis and the UK’s own Nick Park have cited Harryhausen as being the man whose work inspired their own creations.

Harryhausen’s fascination with animated models began when he first saw Willis O’Brien’s creations in King Kong with his boyhood friend, the author Ray Bradbury in 1933, and he made his first foray into filmmaking in 1935 with home-movies that featured his youthful attempts at model animation. Over the period of the next 46 years, he made some of the genres best known movies – Mighty Joe Young (1949), It Came From Beneath The Sea (1955), 20 Million Miles To Earth (1957), Mysterious Island (1961), One Million Years B.C. (1966), The Valley of Gwangi (1969), three films based on the adventures of Sinbad and Clash of The Titans (1981). He is perhaps best remembered for his extraordinary animation of seven skeletons in Jason and The Argonauts (1963) which took him three months to film.

Harryhausen’s genius was in being able to bring his models alive. Whether they were prehistoric dinosaurs or mythological creatures, in Ray’s hands they were no longer puppets but became instead characters in their own right, just as important as the actors they played against and in most cases even more so.

Today The Ray & Diana Harryhausen Foundation, a charitable Trust set up by Ray on the 10th April 1986, is devoted to the protection of Ray’s name and body of work as well as archiving, preserving and restoring Ray’s extensive Collection.

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R.I.P. Roger Ebert

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Roger Ebert, 70, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV for 31 years, and who was without question the nation’s most prominent and influential film critic, died Thursday in Chicago after a long battle with cancer.

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Only a day before legendary film critic Roger Ebert passed away, he tweeted a final farewell at the Chicago-Sun Times:

“So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I’ll see you at the movies”

Read more HERE.

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R.I.P. Maine Author Rick Hautala

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It is with heavy heart that I post the news that Rick Hautala died earlier this afternoon at age 64 from an apparent heart attack. I’m stunned, as I know all of his fans, friends and family are.

Rick Hautala had more than thirty published books to his credit, including the million copy, international best-seller Nightstone, as well as Twilight Time, Little Brothers, Cold Whisper, Impulse, and The Wildman. He has also published four novels—The White Room, Looking Glass, Unbroken, and Follow—using the pseudonym A. J. Matthews. His more than sixty published short stories have appeared in national and international anthologies and magazines. His short story collection Bedbugs was selected as one of the best horror books of the year in 2003.

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A graduate of the University of Maine in Orono with a Master of Art in English Literature (Renaissance and Medieval Literature), Hautala lived in southern Maine with author Holly Newstein. Combined, they have five sons.

I first met Rick when he was the Manager of Bookland at the Maine Mall and we became immediate friends. We attended NECON in its early days and he even made me a character in one of his books. He allowed me to read his manuscripts and provide him with feedback and when I was studying English at USM, he would do the same for me. We would talk about the weeks events and grab General Tso’s chicken at a local Chinese restaurant. I have since moved away from Maine and our contact became less frequent over the past few years but we would still catch up on the phone or chat via email.

Rick was kind, funny and generous and I am truly sad to hear of his passing. My thoughts go out to Rick’s family during this very sad time.

How To Help Rick Hautala’s Loved Ones:

Rick’s sudden death could not have been more untimely. The life of a freelance writer is often one lived on the fringes of financial ruin, and Rick struggled mightily to stay afloat in recent years. Just within the last couple of months, that struggle became difficult enough that he could not afford to continue paying his life insurance bill, and allowed it to lapse.

To make matters worse, Rick’s social security benefits are not available to his wife, author Holly Newstein Hautala, until three years from now. If you were a fan of Rick’s work, or perhaps an author who he inspired, and you’d like to help the family with his final costs, you can donate directly via PayPal to holly_newstein@hotmail.com.

A celebration of Rick Hautala’s life will take place on Sunday, May 5, 2013, at the American Legion Hall on Dunn Street in Westbrook, Maine, from 3 to 7 PM. All who can make it are cordially invited to come and share their memories and laughter with Rick’s friends and family.

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Tom Hanks Shares A Funny Story At Michael Clarke Duncan’s Memorial Service

Tom Hanks shared a funny story at Michael Clarke Duncan’s memorial service, about the time Duncan joined a gang. Michael Clarke Duncan passed away on 9/3/12 at the age of 54. The two actors appeared in the film, The Green Mile.

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Steven Spielberg, Damon Lindelof, Stephen King & Others Remember Ray Bradbury

Steven Spielberg, Barack Obama, Stephen King, and Damon Lindelof were among the well-known figures paying tribute to Ray Bradbury, the author of such classics as Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles who passed away today at 91.

“He was my muse for the better part of my sci-fi career,” Spielberg said in a written statement. “He lives on through his legion of fans. In the world of science fiction and fantasy and imagination he is immortal.”

The two men were mutual fans. Bradbury called Spielberg’s 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind “the best film of its kind ever made.” He later visited the young director “to tell [him] what a genius he was. Spielberg told him that seeing the 1953 sci-fi classic It Came From Outer Space, which was adapted from a Bradbury story, inspired Close Encounters.

Stephen King, in a statement, noted Bradbury’s prolific output and praised the power of his works. “The sound I hear today is the thunder of a giant’s footsteps fading away. But the novels and stories remain, in all their resonance and strange beauty.”

Neil Gaiman wrote on his blog that Bradbury’s death had “knocked me for a loop,” and he promised a longer statement later. He also posted an essay he wrote that was originally printed in an edition of Bradbury’s The Machineries of Joy. “If you want to quote me, you can take anything you like from this, and add that he was kind, and gentle, and always filled with enthusiasm, and that the landscape of the world we live in would have been diminished if we had not had him in our world.

Prometheus and Lost writer Damon Lindelof tweeted, “Fahrenheit 451: The temperature at which my heart aches. We will miss you, Ray.”

But the tributes were not just confined to Hollywood writers and directors.

President Obama issued a statement saying, “His gift for storytelling reshaped our culture and expanded our world.  But Ray also understood that our imaginations could be used as a tool for better understanding, a vehicle for change, and an expression of our most cherished values.  There is no doubt that Ray will continue to inspire many more generations with his writing.

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Ray Bradbury, Author of Fahrenheit 451 And Other Classics, Dies At 91

Science fiction author Ray Bradbury, whose imagination yielded classic books such as “Fahrenheit 451,” “The Martian Chronicles” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” has died at 91, his publisher said Wednesday.

Bradbury “died peacefully, last night, in Los Angeles, after a lengthy illness,” the HarperCollins statement said.

Bradbury’s books and 600 short stories predicted everything from the emergence of ATMs to live broadcasts of fugitive car chases.

“In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury has inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create,” the statement said. “A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time.”

He wrote the screenplay for John Huston’s classic film adaptation of “Moby Dick,” and was nominated for an Academy Award.

Bradbury adapted 65 of his stories for television’s The Ray Bradbury Theater, and won an Emmy for his teleplay of “The Halloween Tree.”

“In my later years I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back.” he wrote in a book o essays published in 2005. “Occasionally I wonder why I can be so happy. The answer is that every day of my life I’ve worked only for myself and for the joy that comes from writing and creating. The image in my mirror is not optimistic, but the result of optimal behavior.”

Bradbury moved to Los Angeles from his native Waukegan, Illinois, during the Great Depression.

He is survived by his four daughters, Susan Nixon, Ramona Ostergren, Bettina Karapetian, and Alexandra Bradbury, and eight grandchildren. His wife of 57 years, Marguerite, died in 2003. (From CNN)

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Maurice Sendak, Author of Where the Wild Things Are, Dies at 83

Maurice Sendak, widely considered the most important children’s book artist of the 20th century, passed away on Tuesday in Danbury, Conn. He was 83 and lived in Ridgefield, Conn.

The cause was complications from a recent stroke, said Michael di Capua, his longtime editor.

He was known in particular for more than a dozen picture books he wrote and illustrated himself, most famously “Where the Wild Things Are,” which was simultaneously genre-breaking and career-making when it was published by Harper & Row in 1963.

Among the other titles he wrote and illustrated, all from Harper & Row, are “In the Night Kitchen” (1970) and “Outside Over There” (1981), which together with “Where the Wild Things Are” form a trilogy; “The Sign on Rosie’s Door” (1960); “Higglety Pigglety Pop!” (1967); and “The Nutshell Library” (1962), a boxed set of four tiny volumes comprising “Alligators All Around,” “Chicken Soup With Rice,” “One Was Johnny” and “Pierre.”

In September, a new picture book by Mr. Sendak, “Bumble-Ardy” — the first in 30 years for which he produced both text and illustrations — was issued by HarperCollins Publishers. The book, which spent five weeks on the New York Times children’s best-seller list, tells the not-altogether-lighthearted story of an orphaned pig (his parents are eaten) who gives himself a riotous birthday party.

A largely self-taught illustrator, whose visual style could range from intricately crosshatched scenes that recalled 19th-century prints to airy watercolors reminiscent of Chagall to bold, bulbous figures inspired by the comic books he loved all his life, with outsize feet that the page could scarcely contain. He never did learn to draw feet, he often said.

Mr. Sendak’s companion of a half-century, Eugene Glynn, a psychiatrist who specialized in the treatment of young people, died in 2007. No immediate family members survive.

Read more HERE.

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Comic Book Artist Moebius Dies

French comic-book artist and designer Jean Giraud, known as Moebius, died overnight aged 74 after a long illness, an associate and work colleague said.

Jean Henri Gaston Giraud was one of France’s leading cartoonists who also found fame in Japan and the United States.

Born at Nogent-sur-Marne east of Paris on May 8, 1938, he began after art school training as an illustrator for advertisers and the fashion industry before turning to comic strips.

He found fame when he created the Lieutenant Blueberry western character and adopted the pseudonym Moebius for illustrations of science fiction books and magazines.

As well as being published in top French magazines, he worked with Japanese manga artists and co-produced an adventure of US comic-book superhero The Silver Surfer with Stan Lee.

Giraud also contributed to a number of blockbuster movies, and in 2010 France’s Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art staged a major retrospective of his work.

 

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