Ackerman was a Los Angeles, California-based magazine editor, science fiction writer and literary agent, a founder of science fiction fandom, a leading expert on science fiction and fantasy films, and possibly the world's most avid collector of genre books and movie memorabilia. He was the editor and principal writer of the American magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland, as well as an actor, from the 1950s into the 1980s, and appears in two documentaries related to this period in popular culture: writer and filmmaker Jason V Brock's The Ackermonster Chronicles!, (a 2012 documentary about Ackerman) and Charles Beaumont: The Life of Twilight Zone's Magic Man, about the late author Charles Beaumont, a former client of The Ackerman Agency.
Also called "Forry," "The Ackermonster," "4e" and "4SJ," Ackerman was central to the formation, organization, and spread of science fiction fandom, and a key figure in the wider cultural perception of science fiction as a literary, art and film genre. Famous for his word play and neologisms, he coined the genre nickname "sci-fi". In 1953, he was voted "#1 Fan Personality" by the members of the World Science Fiction Society, a unique Hugo Award never granted to anyone else.
He was also among the first and most outspoken advocates of Esperanto in the science fiction community.
Ackerman was born Forrest James Ackerman (though he would refer to himself from the early 1930s on as "Forrest J Ackerman" with no period after the middle initial), on November 24, 1916, in Los Angeles, to Carroll Cridland (née Wyman; 1883–1977) and William Schilling Ackerman (1892–1951). His father was from New York and his mother was from Ohio (the daughter of architect George Wyman); she was nine years older than William. He attended the University of California at Berkeley for a year (1934–1935), worked as a movie projectionist, and spent three years in the U.S. Army after enlisting on August 15, 1942.
He was married to teacher and translator Wendayne (Wendy) Wahrman (1912–1990) until her death. Her original first name was Matilda; Forry created "Wendayne" for her. Wendayne suffered a serious head injury when she was violently mugged while on a trip to Europe in 1990, and the injury soon after led to her death.
Ackerman was fluent in the international language Esperanto, and claimed to have walked down Hollywood Boulevard arm-in-arm with Leo G. Carroll singing La Espero, the hymn of Esperanto.
Ackerman was an atheist.
eBook The Frankenscience Monster