Forrest J Ackerman 1916 – 2008

Above: The first issue of Famous Monsters in Filmland (#159) that I bought in 1979.

According to the Associated Press and by way of Greencine Daily, comes the sad news that the fabulous Forrest J Ackerman has passed away at the ripe old age of 92. It’s impossible to measure the impact that Famous Monsters of Filmland had on generations of movie lovers and movie makers, but I suspect that there will be many wonderful tributes written about the man over the coming weekend.

Forrest J Ackerman discussing his collection of horror icon “life masks.”

9 thoughts on “Forrest J Ackerman 1916 – 2008

  1. I had more than enough opportunities to meet FSJ here in Los Angeles but I never could bring myself to (even when we were in the same room). By the time I got here, he was too surrounded by admirers and even hangers-on and I was never one for that kind of scene. But I’m glad he had a posse, because he was, obviously, very old and he’d been taken advantage of in the past. And I’m glad to feel thankful for everything he and Jim Warren did back in the day. They filled a void. They made a difference. We can only hope to do a fraction of the good they accomplished.

  2. The first issue of Famous Monsters I owned was passed down by a friend’s big brother. It had no cover, but what I remember the most is that it had a picture of the “true” face of Zsa Zsa Gabor in Queen of Outer Space. I think the first one I bought would have been in the 70s. Maybe the one with the beautiful painting of The Fly on the cover. I wasn’t allowed to stay up late and watch monster movies, so for years I got everything filtered through Forry.

  3. By chance, I was in a comic book/sc-fi collectables store in a mall on the weekend, looking at the magazine racks, and I remembered how I always looked for Famous Monsters of Filmland in the old days; I wondered right then about Forrie Ackerman and how he was doing – he’d been fragile for years – and then I got home to the bad news he’d passed away. I’d met him in passing at Comic-Cons past, and even visited the old Ackermansion with some pals – he had the effing coolest house ever! When I was just out of high school and into fanzines, he made a little fun of my name in a horror-story fashion in one of ’em, and I twitted him about it years later at the Ackermansion trip – he didn’t remember right away, but he laughed all over again when he heard the tale; I was secretely proud that he’d noticed me at all. A true great, he’ll be missed.

  4. The first issue I remember buying with my own money was #135, with Godzilla vs the Bionic Monster (Mecha G) on the cover. None of the other horror mags ever even came close to Famous Monsters.

    R.I.P. Forrey…

  5. Thanks for sharing all your thoughts and memories of Ackerman, guys!

    I always wanted to visit the Ackermansion after I first heard about it in the early ’80s, but I wasn’t able to and it’s a big regret. It was hard to find issues of Famous Monster selling where I grew up, but I can specifically remember buying the Alien issue since I was a huge fan of the film. It was the first Rated R movie my mother let me see in a theater and it really shook me up and scared me silly. Afterward I bought packs of Alien movie cards and the novel adaptation, etc. It’s my first memory of buying movie related merchandise as a kid. On a side note… I still have my Alien movie card collection!

    In my experience most people with a healthy ego (and Ackerman most definitely had an ego!) can occasionally let their celebrity go to their head so I’m not surprised he made enemies as well as friends. We should all be so lucky!

  6. Back when things like VCRs and DVDs were mere figments of some sci-fi fantasy story that Mr. Ackerman would have loved, his monthly endeavor into all things creepy, kooky and spooky was one of the few outlets some of us had to see these creatures, our real heroes — not those party-poopers who staked, burned or shot them with a silver bullet — in action. And for that I will always be eternally grateful.


  7. It is amazing how many people Forry inspired through his life. I had the huge pleasure to meet him at the original Ackermansion. A picture of me and Forry in front of the Metropolis robot hangs proudly in my living room. We will all meet again but the world feels a little bit colder right now.

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