Beloved author and screenwriter Richard Matheson passed away last night at the age of 87. The writer's death was confirmed by his publisher, who revealed that he had been ill for some time now. An exact cause of death has not been released.

Richard Matheson was born on February 20, 1926 in Allendale, New Jersey, the son of Norwegian immigrants. After serving as an infantry soldier in World War II and receiving a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, he moved to California in the 1950s, where he began publishing numerous short stories and, eventually, novels.

His novel The Incredible Shrinking Man was turned into a 1957 film, and he also wrote the screenplays for House of Usher and Pit and the Pendulum. He also wrote several episodes of The Twilight Zone, including the famous William Shatner episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" and "Steel", the latter of which served as the basis for Hugh Jackman's 2011 hit Real Steel.

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Other novels that were adapted for the big screen include What Dreams May Come, Hell House, Stir of Echoes, and I Am Legend. Steven Spielberg made his feature debut in 1971 with Duel, which was based on the author's short story.

Richard Matheson is survived by his wife Ruth Ann and four children, three of whom (Chris, Richard Christian and Ali Matheson) are also writers.

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