|Forrest J. Ackerman "Mr.
November 24, 1916 -
December 4, 2008
Keep an eye on this page for
information about a Forry memorial tribute in 2009.
Famous Monsters of Hollywood Founder
Forrest J. Ackerman Remembered
Forrest J. Ackerman was a dear
friend of the American Cinematheque and a frequent patron. He purchased a few rows of
seats in the auditorium and named them for his friends and idols of the silver screen.
Next time you visit the theatre sit in for Boris Karloff's or Forry's "seats"
for a treat - you'll find the plaques on the seat backs. The photo above was taken
by Lee Christian at the 80th anniversary of THE JAZZ SINGER at the Egyptian on October 6,
2007. Forry was best known for his love of science fiction, fantasy and horror fare, but
he loved the movies in general. A few years ago when I was helping a friend make a
documentary about Forry, I had occasion to spend some time with him interviewing him at
his home and lunching at House of Pies. He remembered coming to the Egyptian in the 20s
with his grandparents to see LOST WORLD when he was 6 years old! A Los Angeles native,
Forry also told me that his grandfather was the young architect for the Bradbury Building
(used in BLADE RUNNER and other films) which is across the street from Sid Grauman's
precursor to the Egyptian, the downtown movie palace, The Million Dollar Theatre. The
Cinematheque and friends held a tribute
to Forry on February 11, 2004. Forry often hosted film events, sharing the many decades of
motion picture history that he lived through with younger generations. We will miss seeing
that Forrest J. Ackerman "eye twinkle" when he got to talking about the things
he was passionate about -- not to mention those terrific puns.
-- Margot Gerber, American
Photo: Lee Christian
posted December 4, 2008
The Forrest J. Ackerman
Memorial will be held at the Egyptian on Sunday, March 8, 2009. Details.
Forrest J. Ackerman was a dear friend of the American Cinematheque and a frequent patron.
He purchased a few rows of seats in the auditorium and named them for his friends and
idols of the silver screen. Next time you visit the theatre sit in for Boris Karloff's or
Forry's "seats" for a treat - you'll find the plaques on the seat backs. Famous Monsters of Filmland
event on May 30 & 31!
Sci-fi's grand old man, Forrest J Ackerman, dies
By JOHN ROGERS
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Forrest J Ackerman, the sometime actor, literary agent, magazine editor
and full-time bon vivant who discovered author Ray Bradbury and was widely credited with
coining the term "sci-fi," has died. He was 92.
Ackerman died Thursday of heart failure at his Los Angeles home, said Kevin Burns, head of
Prometheus Entertainment and a trustee of Ackerman's estate.
Although only marginally known to readers of mainstream literature, Ackerman was legendary
in science-fiction circles as the founding editor of the pulp magazine Famous Monsters of
Filmland. He was also the owner of a huge private collection of science-fiction movie and
literary memorabilia that for years filled every nook and cranny of a hillside mansion
overlooking Los Angeles.
"He became the Pied Piper, the spiritual leader, of everything science fiction,
fantasy and horror," Burns said Friday.
Every Saturday morning that he was home, Ackerman would open up the house to anyone who
wanted to view his treasures. He sold some pieces and gave others away when he moved to a
smaller house in 2002, but he continued to let people visit him every Saturday for as long
as his health permitted.
"My wife used to say, 'How can you let strangers into our home?' But what's the point
of having a collection like this if you can't let people enjoy it?" an exuberant
Ackerman told The Associated Press as he conducted a spirited tour of the mansion on his
His collection once included more than 50,000 books, thousands of science-fiction
magazines and such items as Bela Lugosi's cape from the 1931 film "Dracula."
His greatest achievement, however, was likely discovering Bradbury, author of the literary
classics "Fahrenheit 451" and "The Martian Chronicles." Ackerman had
placed a flyer in a Los Angeles bookstore for a science-fiction club he was founding and a
teenage Bradbury showed up.
Later, Ackerman gave Bradbury the money to start his own science-fiction magazine, Futuria
Fantasia, and paid the author's way to New York for an authors meeting that Bradbury said
helped launch his career.
"I hadn't published yet, and I met a lot of these people who encouraged me and helped
me get my career started, and that was all because of Forry Ackerman," the author
told the AP in 2005.
Later, as a literary agent, Ackerman represented Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and numerous other
He said the term "sci-fi" came to him in 1954 when he was listening to a car
radio and heard an announcer mention the word "hi-fi."
"My dear wife said, 'Forget it, Forry, it will never catch on,'" he recalled.
Soon he was using it in Famous Monsters of Filmland, the magazine he helped found in 1958
and edited for 25 years.
Ackerman himself appeared in numerous films over the years, usually in bit parts. His
credits include "Queen of Blood," "Dracula vs. Frankenstein,"
"Amazon Women on the Moon," "Vampirella," "Transylvania
Twist," "The Howling" and the Michael Jackson "Thriller" video.
More recently, he appeared in 2007's "The Dead Undead" and 2006's "The
Ackerman returned briefly to Famous Monsters of Filmland in the 1990s, but he quickly fell
out with the publisher over creative differences. He sued and was awarded a judgment of
more than $375,000.
Forrest James Ackerman was born in Los Angeles on Nov. 24, 1916. He fell in love with
science-fiction, he once said, when he was 9 years old and saw a magazine called Amazing
Stories. He would hold onto that publication for the rest of his life.
Ackerman, who had no children, was preceded in death by his wife, Wendayne.
LA Times Obituary