Sci-Fi promoter Forrest Ackerman dies

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Forrest Ackerman, a writer and editor who coined the term “Sci-Fi” and helped inspire the likes of author Ray Bradbury and film maker George Lucas, has died. He was 92.

Ackerman died of heart failure on Thursday at his home in Los Angeles, said Kevin Burns, president of Prometheus Entertainment and a trustee of his estate.

He is widely credited with coining the term Sci-Fi in 1954. Science fiction had been around as a genre for years before, but Ackerman was a big promoter of it.

“He was really considered the godfather, or what I call the Pied Piper of science fiction and horror,” Burns said on Friday.

Ackerman encouraged Bradbury, who went on to write classics such as “The Martian Chronicles” and “Fahrenheit 451,” early on in the author’s writing career.

Ackerman edited the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland, which was launched in 1958 and lasted more than 20 years.

And he filled his eight-bedroom Los Angeles home with tens of thousands of science fiction books and props from Sci-Fi and horror movies. The house became a repository for fans of the those genres, who often visited for tours on Saturdays.

Lucas, the film maker behind the “Star Wars” franchise, said in a statement that Ackerman “never stopped believing in the magic of the movies and the possibilities presented by science fiction.”

Ackerman died with no surviving family members.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Jill Serjeant