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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
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!