Science fiction legend Richard Matheson is to be honored in Los Angeles on Wednesday for his life work following his death Sunday at the age of 87.

A prolific novelist and screenwriter, Matheson saw many of his writings become major motion pictures, including "I Am Legend" starring Will Smith in 2007. He also penned 14 episodes of the classic TV series "The Twilight Zone."

"Richard was a genius whose visions helped bring legitimacy and critical acclaim to science fiction and fantasy," said the Academy of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film in an email to AFP on Tuesday.

Its president Robert Holguin said the 39th Saturn awards, where Matheson was to have been presented with the academy's Visionary Award, would be dedicated to his memory instead.

Matheson wrote more than 25 novels and nearly 100 short stories in a career that began when he published his first short story "Born of Man and Woman" at the age of 24.

Prominent among Matheson's fans was film director Steven Spielberg, whose second feature film "Duel" in 1971 was based on one of the author's short stories.

"Richard Matheson's ironic and iconic imagination created seminal science-fiction stories and gave me my first break," said Spielberg in a statement.