Forrest J Ackerman

Forrest J Ackerman
Forrest Ackerman (1965).jpg
Ackerman in 1965
Forrest James Ackerman

(1916-11-24)November 24, 1916
DiedDecember 4, 2008(2008-12-04) (aged 92)
Los Angeles, California
OccupationMagazine editor, science fiction writer, literary agent, actor
Parent(s)Carroll Cridland
William Schilling Ackerman

Forrest James Ackerman[1] (November 24, 1916 – December 4, 2008) was an American magazine editor, science fiction writer and literary agent, a founder of science fiction fandom, a leading expert on science fiction, horror, and fantasy films,[2] and acknowledged as the world's most avid collector of genre books and movie memorabilia.[3] He was based in Los Angeles, California.

During his career as a literary agent, Ackerman represented such science fiction authors as Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, A.E. Van Vogt, Curt Siodmak, and L. Ron Hubbard.[4] For more than seven decades, he was one of science fiction's staunchest spokesmen and promoters.

Ackerman 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. He appears in several documentaries related to this period in popular culture, like Famous Monster: Forrest J Ackerman[5] (directed by Michael R. MacDonald[6] and written by Ian Johnston[7]), which premiered at the Egyptian Theatre in March 2009, during the Forrest J Ackerman tribute; The Ackermonster Chronicles![8] (a 2012 documentary about Ackerman[9] by writer and filmmaker Jason V Brock); and Charles Beaumont: The Short Life of Twilight Zone's Magic Man,[10] about the late author Charles Beaumont, a former client of The Ackerman Agency.[11]

Also called "Forry",[12] "Uncle Forry", "The Ackermonster",[13] "Dr. Acula", "Forjak",[13] "4e"[13] and "4SJ",[12] 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".[14] 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.[15]

He was also among the first and most outspoken advocates of Esperanto in the science fiction community.[16][17]

Early years

Ackerman was born Forrest James Ackerman (though he would refer to himself from the early 1930s on as "Forrest J Ackerman" with no period after the middle initial), on November 24, 1916,[18] in Los Angeles, to Carroll Cridland (née Wyman; 1883–1977) and William Schilling Ackerman (1892–1951).[19] His father, Chief Statistician for the Associated Oil Company, and assistant to the Vice-President in charge of transportation,[20] was from New York and his mother was from Ohio (the daughter of architect George Wyman); she was nine years older than William.

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 on August 15, 1942,[19][21] 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.