Sci-Fi Legend Forrest J. Ackerman Passes Away - Mania.com



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Sci-Fi Legend Forrest J. Ackerman Passes Away

Helped coin the phrase "sci-fi".

By Tim Janson     December 05, 2008


Sci-Fi Legend Forrest J. Ackerman
© N/A

It is with great sadness that we report that the legendary Forrest J Ackerman passed away last night at 11:58PM from heart failure. To millions of baby boomers, Forrest Ackerman was a true legend.  Ackerman was many things in his lifetime, an editor, literary agent, writer, actor, and collector of genre memorabilia. Ackerman was the man who coined the term “Sci-Fi” to describe science fiction and perhaps did more to start the Sci-Fi fandom boom more than any other person. He attended the very first World Science Fiction Convention in 1939. He also founded the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society.
 
In 1958, Ackerman began serving as editor for one of the most influential and important magazines in genre history, Famous Monsters of Filmland. The magazine was largely responsible for the monster boom of the 1960s. Ackerman edited the magazine from 1958 through 1983. In 1969, Ackerman created one of the most beloved and enduring characters in comics history, the sexy vampire known as Vampirella.
 
Ackerman was affectionately known as “Uncle Forry” due in large part for his great camaraderie with his legion of fans. For decades Ackerman greeted fans at his 18-room home dubbed the “Ackermansion”. The home was a virtual museum of science fiction, fantasy, and horror memorabilia and included over 300,000 books, magazines, and other items such as props and models from the original King Kong, the robot from Metropolis, the cape and ring Bela Lugosi wore in “Dracula”, the top hat worn by Lon Chaney in “London After Midnight”, a first edition of Dracula signed by Bram Stoker, hundreds of masks, and so much more. It’s estimated that over 50,000 fans visited the Ackermansion over the years. Declining health forced Forrest to sell the home and move to the smaller “Acker mini-mansion” a few years ago but he continued to always make his home open to fans. 
 
As a lifelong fan and supporter of independent and “b” movies, Ackerman made cameo appearances in numerous films over the years including King Kong (1976), The Howling, Kentucky Fried Movie, Amazon Women on the Moon, Return of the Living Dead Part 2, Beverly Hills Cop III, Vampirella, and Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfold.
 
Ackerman’s accomplishments and contributions to genre entertainment and fandom are too numerous to list. He will be sorely missed!

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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myklspader 12/5/2008 7:01:46 PM

 That sucks. I am really worried about all that memorabilia being discarded or even worse finding it in the hands of people who truly do not know how to appreciate what they have. 

doublec 12/5/2008 7:24:25 PM

R.I.P.

This man is literally irreplaceable.

And I agree I hope all that memorablila finds a good home or homes.

snallygaster 12/5/2008 11:03:20 PM

Oh my.

I had heard that he was gravely ill, so I was expecting this news...

His influence, especially through Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, cannot be understimated. Lucas, Spielberg, Burton, Darabont, Landis, Rick Baker... they were all influenced by Forry's publication. And he had a direct participation in the careers of Ray Bradbury, Ray Harryhausen, and Marion Zimmer Bradley among others.

For the generations who grew up with SF/horror/fantasy available through video rental and countless webpages and discussion boards at their beck and call, it's probably not easy to realize how remarkable Ackerman was. There was once a time when the only way you'd see fanboy movies was at the drive-in or on the numerous "Creature Double Features" which aired on local TV stations, usually on Saturday afternoon or late night. Books which took the genre seriously were few and far between, and Famous Monsters was the shining beacon of fandom.

The man was truly the First Fanboy.

Godspeed, Uncle Forry.

Wiseguy 12/6/2008 9:15:16 AM

I didn't even know he was sick.




RIP

monkeyfoot 12/8/2008 6:58:07 AM

Back before the internet or even Starlog magazine, I was alittle tyke who ravenously devoured any copy of Famous Monsters I could get my hands on.

R.I.P. the greatest and best geek to ever live.

Bill_the_Pony 12/8/2008 10:12:34 AM

He was a class act all the way, even while at the receiving end of words and actions of bilous individuals like Harlan Ellison and Ray Ferry. R.I.P. to a man that made loving the strange and wonderful a thing not to be ashamed of.

 

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