Just heard about the passing of Forrest J (no period) Ackerman, on Thursday at the ripe vintage of 92. (This news warrants a brief detour out of Book Hell.)
The AP’s lead on his obit gives a good nutshell description of this only-in-Hollywood character:
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.
For years, Forry stored an absolutely amazing collection of memorabilia from sci-fi, horror and fantasy movies in the “Ackermanse,” a spacious house in the hills off Vermont Avenue. (His phone number, back when all of these parts were 213, famously spelled out MOONFAN.)
I can’t say that I’m of the generation that waited breathlessly for my copy of his semi-monthly fanzine Famous Monsters of Filmland to arrive in the mail. But thanks to my husband, I did visit his house once and got a guided tour of his collection. (Somewhere out there, in the ether devoted to long-kaput magazines printed on cheap paper stock, is a Q&A I did with him for BAM, sometime in 1993 or ’94 if I remember correctly.)
When Forry showed off a few ragged bits of foam rubber that he kept under glass and proudly informed me that they were from original “King Kong” models, I thought he was going to choke up.
Here’s hoping he’s somewhere up above (or maybe below?) enjoying a glass of blood-red wine with Willis O’Brien and Merian C. Cooper right now.