‘Sci-fi’ originator, literary agent, editor Forrest J. Ackerman, 92

Forrest J Ackerman. Photo by Alan Light.

Forrest J Ackerman. Photo by Alan Light.

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Forrest J Ackerman, the sometime actor, literary agent and 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 Dec. 4 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 movies and literary memorabilia.

His greatest achievement was likely discovering Bradbury, author of the literary classics Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles. 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.” He used it in Famous Monsters of Filmland, which he edited for 25 years.

Ackerman himself appeared in numerous films, including Queen of Blood and Dracula vs. Frankenstein, and the Michael Jackson Thriller video.

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