OT: Forrest J. Ackerman

Posted by Loren Miller 
OT: Forrest J. Ackerman
December 05, 2008 07:08PM
I just heard, Forrest Ackerman died in LA last night. He was I believe 92.

Many of us in storytelling grew up on his magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland and reveled in the classic horror, fantasy and science fiction iconographica that is today being remade or "chromed." Witness DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, which doesn't need a remake (although it looks to be cool).

Of that era, Forrest J. Ackerman or "4E" as known by friends and visitors to the Hollywood "Ackermansion" was the world's number one science fiction fan. He coined the term "SCI-FI"-- which Harlan Ellison complained sounded like two crickets humping. (They didn't get along.)

Among other activities, Forrest was literary agent to young Ray Bradbury, and L. Ron Hubbard-- before Hubbard invented Scientology. A lot of our contemporary cultural landscape was established by folks he befriended and influenced.

His Hollywood home was a repository of collectibles, actual props and equipment from the classic films. He had Lon Chaney's makeup kit! He had the original armatures for model dinosaurs from the original KING KONG. He had a zillion props, stacks of fan art, and screenplays from all over. A lot of people made off with goods from the Ackermansion because he was so trusting.

Many fantasy filmmakers trekked to the Ackermansion, and later, to the bungalow, where I met him and took him to lunch with friends five years ago. Steven Spielberg and many others have called him "father."

One of my early editing clients, Kevin Burns, an avid collector, rescued him from early demise by financing emergency hospital care, for which we're all grateful. Another friend, filmmaker Brian Anthony, coordinated an auction of his collectibles and netted 4E enough to keep him comfortable for his last decade. Peter Jackson got the makeup kit.

4E was still traveling to make appearances at science fiction conventions around the world well into his late 80's. I took him to brunch at one in Boston a few years ago. He never lost his marbles, sharp to the end.

Now he can live forever.

Best, as always,
Loren S. Miller
Home of KeyGuide Central
Re: OT: Forrest J. Ackerman
December 05, 2008 08:36PM
I was lucky enough to interview 4E a few years ago for a doc I did on "The Day The Earth Stood Still". He was really sweet guy and my time with him was very enjoyable. He was truly a pioneer and one of the last of his generation of sci-fi pioneers.

I am glad that his last years seemed to be comfortable for him.


Re: OT: Forrest J. Ackerman
December 06, 2008 01:35PM
Ah,lucky you!

Nobody caught the period on the J? There is no period. It stood for nothing. ;-)

Did I mention he was also Ed Wood's agent?

Best, as always,
Loren S. Miller
Home of KeyGuide Central
Re: OT: Forrest J. Ackerman
December 06, 2008 04:20PM
He was Ed Wood's agent? Wow, that's pretty funny.

Re: OT: Forrest J. Ackerman
December 06, 2008 08:31PM
Loren, Thanks
That was a nice write of what sounds like an incredible person.
I hope to learn more about him.


"When I see you floating down the gutter I'll give you a bottle of wine."
Captain Beefheart, Trout Mask Replica.
Re: OT: Forrest J. Ackerman
December 07, 2008 01:37PM
My pleasure, Dean.

Ah, here's the actual Speilberg quote:

"The first time I met Steven Spielberg," writes Steven King, "we didn?t talk about movies. We talked about monsters and Forry Ackerman.? For his part, Spielberg autographed a still from Close Encounters to Forry; ?A generation of fantasy lovers thank you for raising us so well."

- Loren
Re: OT: Forrest J. Ackerman
December 08, 2008 07:55AM
That's sad news, Lorren.
Lucky you (& Dan) for being able to meet and know him.

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