Feb 20 2011 1:00pm

Happy Birthday, Richard Matheson!

Richard MathesonEighty-five years ago, on February 20, 1926, Richard Burton Matheson was born in Allendale, New Jersey. Traditionally, it’s the birthday boy who receives the presents, but as we celebrate this landmark occasion, let’s take a moment to recall some of the imaginative gifts Richard has bestowed upon us over the last several decades:

  • A shrinking man, beset by a world grown too large for him.
  • A fiendish gremlin on the wing of an airplane.
  • A little girl lost between dimensions.
  • The last man alive on a world overrun by vampires.
  • A starship captain split into his good and evil halves.
  • A bittersweet love story somewhere in time.
  • The most hellishly haunted house in the world.
  • A rampaging semi-truck driven by a faceless maniac.
  • A devoted husband searching the afterlife for his lost wife.
  • A bloodthirsty Zuni doll stalking an innocent woman.
  • An ageless alchemist living in Underground Seattle.
  • A man obsessed by a roadside fortune-telling device.
  • A button that promises both riches and tragedy.
  • Robot boxers with fists of steel....

And that’s not even counting his various screen adaptions of everything from The Pit and the Pendulum to The Night Stalker. For over half a century, we’ve been opening the presents he keeps giving us, and our dreams and nightmares are all the richer for it. And, just in time for his birthday, he’s unwrapped yet another gift: his latest novel, Other Kingdoms.

So blow out your candles, Richard, and enjoy another slice of cake. You deserve it!

Happy birthday!

In honor of Richard Matheson’s birthday, is hosting a huge Matheson catalogue giveaway here.

Greg Cox is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels and short stories. He also works as a Consulting Editor for Tor Books, where he has edited such authors as Richard Matheson, Harry Harrison, Tony Daniel, Rosemary Edghill, Graham Joyce, Keith R. A. DeCandido, and many others.

Doug C.
1. Doug C.
Oh man, this is awesome. Thanks for this post. I really needed a pick me up today, and to see Richard Matheson is still alive - and 85 to boot - is great news!

I don't think this man can write a bad sentence. Some of my favorite movies of all time have his signature on them - Duel, The Night Stalker, Stir of Echoes, and who can forget that maniacal totem doll in Trilogoy of Terror! As with Nightmare at 20,000 Feet that was the best out of that trilogy.

Happy Birthday Mr. Matheson! And I hope you have a few more, praise God.
2. scepter
Happy birthday Mr. Matheson!
I love his stories and I didn't realize he wrote the one about the Zuni doll. It came on TV late one night and like Doug C. said who could forget it. It doesn't matter what lives in the closet or lurks under the bed, he made you afraid to walk past the couch!
Doug C.
3. John Scoleri
Nice article Greg! I also have to add how much I enjoyed your contribution to the Richard Matheson Companion (and all your efforts to continue to bring Matheson's latest works to the masses!).

I just saw the Matheson interview in the new issue of Fangoria (#301). Can you confirm that Tor's got a new post-Will Smith cover for I Am Legend? It looks like it on the bottom of page 44 - restoring the unaltered (albeit cropped) version of Jim Thiesen's cover painting. Can't wait to add a copy to the archive!
Doug C.
4. gregcox
Glad you liked the tribute article.

And, yep, our license to use the movie cover is expiring, so we'll be going back to a variation of the old zombie cover soon.
Doug C.
5. Marcie Anderson-buckley
Happy Birthday, Richard, I don't know the date on this web listing but hopefully this gets to you. It was my pleasure while at the Hotel del to work with you on your development of SOMEWHERE IN TIME. I hope you are well.

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