Self-admitted contrarian and master of the short story Harlan Ellison has passed away at the age of 84. He died in his Sherman Oaks home in his sleep.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio on May 27, 1934. He sold his first story in 1949, and by the 1950s was a prolific contributor to the pulp magazines of the day.
In 1962, he moved to Hollywood, selling scripts to a number of popular television shows. His most famous work was for the Star Trek episode, “The City on the Edge of Forever.”
Ellison provided the script for The Oscar, the 1966 film adaptation of the Richard Sale novel which fictionalized a young Hollywood’s stars Machiavellian machinations in order to win a Best Actor Oscar. In the late 1960s, he was hired by Disney as a writer, and only lasted four hours.
In 1975, Ellison’s 1969 novella A Boy and his Dog was adapted into a film starring a young Don Johnson. The films Jackpot (1980) and Try a Dull Knife (1992) were adapted from his short stories.
In the late 1970s, he was hired to write a potential adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot for Warner Brothers, but was dropped from the project after insulting a producer he thought was giving comments on his script without reading it.
Ellison was also known as a litigious protector of his copyrights. He filed suit over The Terminator, stating he believed the film “ripped off” “Soldier,” a story he wrote for the Outer Limits television show. The case was settled out of court and Ellison received a special credit on the film. Ellison also sued the producers of 2011’s In Time, believing it to be ripping off his 1965 short story Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman, but withdrew the suit after he saw the film.
Ellison also did a number of voice roles, including appearing as himself on The Simpsons.