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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Authors

Forrest J Ackerman

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Forrest J Ackerman

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Full Name: Forrest James Ackerman
Born: November 24, 1916
Los Angeles, California, USA
Died: December 4, 2008
Los Angeles, California, USA
Occupation: Writer, Editor, Agent
Nationality: American


Forrest J Ackerman was an American collector of science fiction books and movie memorabilia and a science fiction fan. He was, for over seven decades, one of science fiction's staunchest spokesmen and promoters. Ackerman attended the University of California at Berkeley for a year (1934–1935), then worked as a movie projectionist and at odd jobs with fan friends prior to spending three years in the U.S. Army after enlisting in 1942, where he rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant, held the position of editor of his base's newspaper, and passed his entire time in service at Fort MacArthur, California.

Ackerman was a Los Angeles, California-based magazine editor, science fiction writer and literary agent, a founder of science fiction fandom, a leading expert on science fiction and fantasy films, and possibly the world's most avid collector of genre books and movie memorabilia. He was the editor and principal writer of the American magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland, as well as an actor, from the 1950s into the 21st Century, and appears in at least two documentaries related to this period in popular culture: Famous Monster: Forrest J Ackerman, The Ackermonster Chronicles!, and Charles Beaumont: The Life of Twilight Zone's Magic Man, about the late author Charles Beaumont, a former client of The Ackerman Agency.

Also called "Forry," "The Ackermonster," "4e" and "4SJ," Ackerman was central to the formation, organization, and spread of science fiction fandom, and a key figure in the wider cultural perception of science fiction as a literary, art and film genre. Famous for his word play and neologisms, he coined the genre nickname "sci-fi". He is credited with the first cosplay at the first World Science Fiction Convention in 1939, and in 1953, he was voted "#1 Fan Personality" by the members of the World Science Fiction Society -- a unique Hugo Award never granted to anyone else.

Ackerman was married to a German-born teacher and translator, Mathilda Wahrman (1912–1990), whom he met in the early 1950s while she was working in a bookstore he happened to visit. He eventually dubbed her "Wendayne" or, less formally, "Wendy", by which name she became most generally known within SF and film fandoms, after the character in Peter Pan, his favorite fantasy. Although they went through a period of separation during the late 1950s and early 1960s, they remained officially married until her death: she suffered serious internal injuries when she was violently mugged while visiting Italy in 1990, and irreparable damage to her kidneys led to her death. They had no children of their own by choice, but Wahrman did have a son by an earlier marriage, Michael Porges, who did not get along with Ackerman and would not live in Ackerman's home.

In 2003, Ackerman said, "I aim at hitting 100 and becoming the George Burns of science fiction". His health, however, had been failing. While there were several premature reports of his death in the month prior, Ackerman died a minute before midnight on December 4, 2008, at the age of 92.

Works in the WWEnd Database

 Non Series Works


 Best Science Fiction for

 2. (1973)