Saturday, October 8, 2016

Bill Warren: 1943-2016

 Author Bill Warren (in the Hawaiian shirt) chats with Tim Smyth at Don Glut's house. Photo by Brett Homenick.

The news of Bill Warren's passing at age 73 was unfortunately expected, given his declining health, but it is major loss for fans of classic sci-fi and horror films. Bill wrote numerous books and articles on the genre over the decades, and his association with the Forry Ackerman and Famous Monsters (the real one, not the pale imitation of recent years) speaks for itself. Not many classic horror fans can say that they met Boris Karloff, but Bill Warren could.

I met Bill Warren once. In August 2010, I visited Don Glut's home where he was throwing a party for various local monster movie fans. Among the folks in attendance were Ted Newsom, William Winckler, Perry Martin, Tim Smyth, and of course Bill Warren. At one point, I asked Bill to tell the story about his attempt at interviewing Teri Garr on the set of a movie, which had the group in stitches. (I'd read the story before on the Classic Horror Film Board.) Among other awkward moments, when Bill asked her about Close Encounters, she retorted, "That's not science fiction, that's Steven Spielberg's VISION!"

Bill Warren, Tim Smyth, Perry Martin, Don Glut, William Winckler, and Ted Newsom talk about all things horror. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Toward the end of the afternoon, the conversation turned toward some of the drama unfolding on the CHFB. Bill, despite his reputation for being "irascible," offered a level-headed assessment of the events. I wouldn't have blamed him at all for being upset at the way he was treated, but he actually seemed unfazed by it all and took it in stride. I was impressed.

My favorite Bill Warren moment? As the party was preparing to move to a nearby pizzeria, Bill (and his wife Beverly) were planning to return home. As we were about to say our goodbyes, Bill flashed a playful smile and asked me, "So [insert egomaniac's name here] lets you be a Godzilla fan, eh?" Given that I was on somewhat friendly terms with said individual at this point, I had to play it safe, but even then I had a good laugh over Bill's question. I always enjoyed his sense of humor.

RIP, Bill.

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