Uncle Odie's Collectibles

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sci-fi's grand old man, Forrest J Ackerman, dies

Forrest J Ackerman

Born November 24, 1916
Died December 4, 2008

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved


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 85th birthday.

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 science-fiction writers.

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 Boneyard Collection."

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.

Profiles in History

Profiles in History
26901 Agoura Rd. Ste 150 Calabasas, CA 91301

Date & time

Thurs, Dec 11, 12 noon PST

Fri, Dec 12, 11 am PST
Sat, Dec 13, 10 am PST
Sun, Dec 14, 10 am PST

Coming soon: Hollywood Memorabilia Auction 33 & Collectors Book Store Auction

Profiles in History is proud to present our most ambitious endeavor to date: Back-to-back auctions in the same week. Our winter bonanza will start with our typical general Entertainment Auction (Auction #33) on Thursday, Dec. 11, followed by the much-anticipated Collectors Book Store Auction (Auction #34)on Friday to Sunday, Dec. 12 to 14.


The original 82-inch diameter hero "United Planets Cruiser C-57D" flying saucer filming miniature from Forbidden Planet, estimate $80,000 - $120,000

Marlon Brando complete signature "Jor-El" costume from Superman: The Movie, estimate $30,000 - $50,000

Vintage gelatin silver glossy German still of Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel and Rudolf Klein-Rogge from Metropolis, estimate $5,000 - $7,000

Three volume presentation First Editions of The Lord of the Rings with Elvish inscription and all three volumes signed by J.R.R. Tolkien, estimate $80,000 - $120,000

Original galley proofs for the first printing of Margaret Mitchell' Gone With the Wind, estimate $10,000 - $15,000

Josephine Baker's first film Die Konign Von Paris [La Revue Des Revues] Austrian poster, estimate $40,000 - $60,000

The Black Pirate, starring Douglas Fairbanks, one-sheet poster, estimate $40,000 - $60,000

Full-scale Egyptian chariot from The Ten Commandments, estimate $8,000 - $10,000

Mark Hamil hero "Luke Skywalker" lightsaber from Star Wars and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, estimate $150,000 - $180,000

Original screen-used "Santa Jack" stop-motion puppet sled ensemble from The Nightmare Before Christmas, estimate $30,000 - $50,000

Hugh Jackman signature "Wolverine" black leather battlesuit from X-Men, estimate $60,000 - $80,000

Christian Bale signature "Batman" cowl from Batman Begins, estimate $15,000 - $20,000
In addition, Profiles in History will be offering a collection from Academy Award winner Rick Baker's iconic visual effects work. Baker's work has long been a Hollywood legend and these pieces represent many of the most famous and recognizable horror and science fiction film characters ever photographed, including The Incredible Shrinking Woman, Gorillas in the Mist Mighty Joe Young, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Harry and the Hendersons, The Nutty Professor, Men in Black, Batman and Robin, and much more.