"Mr. Science Fiction" (1916-2008). A longtime science fiction fan, writer, editor, and all-around nice guy, he is probably best known for creating and editing the influential "Famous Monsters of Filmland" magazine. He is also credited with being the first person to abbreviate science fiction to "sci-fi". He has been a literary agent for such SF notables as Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Hugo Gernsback, L. Ron Hubbard, Andre Norton, Curt Siodmak, A. E. van Vogt, Jack Williamson, and many others. He's appeared in over 50 films, usually in cameo roles.
Much of Ackerman's home (called the "Ackermansion") in Los Angeles was dedicated to his immense collection of priceless science fiction and horror memorabilia, including books, film posters, costumes, makeup, masks, props, models, photographs, and much more. At 300,000 items, it was the largest collection of its kind in the world. And up until September 2002, he even gave free hands-on tours! So why did he quit the tours? One of the great tragedies of modern cinema happened, and it was ignored by almost everyone...
Forry had been involved in an expensive legal battle with a former associate who claimed that he owned the "Dr. Acula" name that Forry sometimes used. The courts found in Ackerman's favor, but his former associate immediately declared bankruptcy so he wouldn't have to pay any money. Forry had to pay $200,000 in legal bills and tried to get the city of Los Angeles, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and several major Hollywood players, including Steven Spielberg and George Lucas (both of whom claim to have been inspired by Forry) to buy his entire collection of movie history to house in a proper museum. They all ignored him. And Ackerman had to sell off his entire collection at a fucking garage sale.
"Ahh, big deal," you may be saying. "Just a bunch of old movie shit." Wrong, motherfucker. Ackerman's collection included stuff like Martian spacecraft from the film version of "The War of the Worlds", dinosaurs from "King Kong", the cape that Bela Lugosi wore in "Dracula", props from the laboratory in "The Bride of Frankenstein", costumes and makeup from "London after Midnight", the Metalunan mutant from "This Island Earth", the golden idol from "Raiders of the Lost Ark", all of it collected and treasured for over 50 years by the best booster science fiction has ever had. Many of these items will end up in private collections, stuffed into attics or boxes, never to be seen by movie hounds or sci-fi geeks again.
This is a tragedy, both for science fiction and horror fans and for lovers of film. And Hollywood is a bitch.
For more information, check out Forry's website at http://www.best.com/~4forry/ and one of the few news stories about the sale of his collection at http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/features/20020920-9999_1c20vine.html