4SJ FTW 4EVER (We’ll Miss You, Uncle Forry)

Dearly departed Forrest J Ackerman. Photo by Mark Berry from a series of portraits taken for Bizarre Magazine’s wonderful feature on the Ackermonster.

Forrest J Ackerman: literary agent, magazine editor, writer, actor, producer, archivist, curator, and so much more, too much to pack into a brief obituary. He was a crackpot visionary to the max, to be sure, and deeply loved by millions of fellow freakazoids the world over. Tip o’ the iceberg: he discovered Ray Bradbury, represented Isaac Asimov, Ed Wood and L. Ron Hubbard, founded Famous Monsters of Filmland and is widely acknowledged as the man who coined the term “sci-fi.”

Ackerman cultivated one of the most enormous private collections of science-fiction movie and literary memorabilia in the world, cramming his hillside “Ackermansion” with 50,000 books, thousands more science-fiction magazines, and such priceless collectibles as Bela Lugosi’s cape, actual Star Trek tribbles, and original props from War of the Worlds.

He sold off quite a bit of his collection back in 2002 and moved to a smaller place, but schedule permitting, continued to open his home to strangers every Satuday afternoon to view his remaining treasures. He greatly enjoyed sharing his many colorful stories and anecdotes with fellow Hollyweird aficionados. Speaking to the AP during a lively tour of the Ackermansion on his 85th birthday, Ackerman said “My wife used to [ask] ‘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?”

His health had been in a steady decline for months. He passed away at his home in LA yesterday, aged 92.

8 Responses to “4SJ FTW 4EVER (We’ll Miss You, Uncle Forry)”

  1. bunny Says:

    Oh, I wish I’d had the chance to see Forry’s collection… This is a wonderful memorial Mer – thank you for posting this!

    Speaking of his collection, Forry sold the props from the original King Kong to Peter Jackson, who used them as set decoration in his remake.

    Anyone who is even slightly involved in “fandom” owes Forry… he created the home for countless monster kids and SciFi nerds to come together.

  2. Ray Radlein Says:

    He also created Vampirella, was named an Honorary Lesbian by the Daughters of Bilitis for his early support of Del and Phyllis, and was Ed Wood’s literary agent.

    That’s a lot more Life than most folks manage to pack into their alloted span.

  3. fractal Says:

    Wow. There was just a cover story in Rue Morgue two months ago about him.

  4. Tequila Says:

    Having been lucky enough to enjoy his tours…it’s a sad day. Still the man left such an impression on so many he was already legendary so while his mortal self may pass on his energy and passions live on.

    He saved the amazingly cool stuff most thought of as junk and the countless books and magazines he’s collected alone are a valuable record to a genre that’s left such a deep impression on all…even those who aren’t aware of it. Part caretaker & historian I’m hopeful someone picks up the torch in some way.

  5. Jon Munger Says:

    92. We should all be so lucky. A toast to you, old ghoulie, and I’ll eat the goods of the grave in your honor.

  6. Jerem Morrow Says:

    A legend who’ll be dearly missed. And something tells me this famous monster will outlive any undead ghoul ever conceived. Alive, dead or undead, rock on Forry. I raise my glass.

  7. andrew Says:

    this is the first i’ve heard of his passing. i remember distinctly going through his old home (the bigger one from before he sold off much of his collection) and looking at things. he wore the rings from the original Dracula and The Mummy. i played with props from the original King Kong and War of the Worlds. later, i sat at his feet and he talked about how much he loved Metropolis. it’s what got me into Fritz Lang. i can’t help but be sad.

  8. k paul blume Says:

    He likewise introduced North America to the on-going German space opera, Perry Rhodan, out of which the charcter, Pucky (Gucky in the original) became a long-time imaginary friend of mine. Little known fact (at least, I hope it’s little known; Mr. Ackerman ‘guest-starred’ in Philip Jose Farmer’s notorious Mark of the Beast novels, though more as a bemused observer than as a participant in the debauchery.
    Will be horribly missed, especially by those of us who grew up on him.