TV Writer Richard Matheson Dies

Prolific TV and screen writer and novelist Richard Matheson, 87, died June 23 at his home in Calabasas, Calif., according to the Writers Guild of America West.

Matheson wrote in a variety of genres, but was best known for his sci-fi, fantasy and horror scripts for Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Night Gallery and many others. Among his Twilight Zone episodes were "Nick of Time" and "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet." Both starred William Shatner, for whom Matheson would write the Star Trek episode "The Enemy Within," which focuses on Shatner when his Captian Kirk character splits into good and evil versions after a transporter malfunction.

The interplay of good and evil were important themes for Matheson in his writing for series Night Gallery, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

His other TV credits included TV movie, Duel (Stephen Spielberg's first directorial turn), as well as Western series Have Gun Will Travel and Cheyenne; sci-fi miniseries The Martian Chronicles; and TV movies The Morning After, The Stranger and Trilogy of Terror, featuring the cult classic segment with Karen Black attacked by a knife-wielding Zuni doll.

His film credits included 1957 sci-fi classic The Incredible Shrinking Man, Jaws 3-D and adaptations for a string of Roger Corman films including The House of Usher, The Pit & the Pendulum, Tales of Terror, and The Raven.

Matheson is survived by his wife, Ruth Ann, and four children.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.