Richard Matheson, author of I Am Legend and inspiration to Stephen King. (Guardian)
Richard Matheson, the prolific American writer of fantasy, horror and science fiction, much of whose work has been adapted for TV and cinema, has died aged 87. Cited by Stephen King as the biggest influence on his own work, Matheson sent shivers down the spines of readers and viewers for decades, with such unusual novels and stories as The Incredible Shrinking Man and the much-filmed I Am Legend.

He turned his hand to pacy adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe stories for the film director Roger Corman, to the story and screenplay for one of Steven Spielberg's most effective films, Duel (1971), and 16 instalments of the popular and ingenious television series The Twilight Zone. For Matheson, horror was potentially everywhere: battlefields, suburban streets, a cellar, an aircraft cabin even a library.
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