Richard Burton Matheson (born February 20, 1926) is an American author and screenwriter, primarily in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres. He is perhaps best known as the author of The Shrinking Man, Hell House, What Dreams May Come, Bid Time Return (filmed as Somewhere in Time), A Stir of Echoes, and I Am Legend, all of which have been adapted as major motion pictures, the last at least three times. Matheson also wrote several The Twilight Zone television show episodes for Rod Serling, such as "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", Steel, and others. He later adapted his 1971 short story "Duel" into a screenplay which was directed by a young Steven Spielberg, for the television movie of the same name.
Matheson was born in Allendale, New Jersey, the son of Norwegian immigrants Fanny (née Mathieson) and Bertolf Matheson, a tile floor installer. Matheson was raised in Brooklyn and graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1943. He then entered the military and spent World War II as an infantry soldier. In 1949 he earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and moved to California in 1951. He married Ruth Ann Woodson on July 1, 1952 and has four children, three of whom (Chris, Richard Christian, and Ali Matheson) are writers of fiction and screenplays.