George Clayton Johnson
|Born||July 10, 1929|
Cheyenne, Wyoming, U.S.
|Died||December 25, 2015 (aged 86)|
North Hills, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Genre||Science fiction, magical realism, fantasy, literary, Western, and horror|
|Notable works||Logan's Run, Ocean's 11, The Twilight Zone, Star Trek|
|Notable awards||Inkpot Award Winner, 1976; Balrog Award Winner, 1983|
|Spouse||Lola Johnson (m. 1952–2015; his death)|
|Children||Paul Johnson and Judy Olive|
George Clayton Johnson (July 10, 1929 – December 25, 2015) was an American science fiction writer, best known for co-writing with William F. Nolan the novel Logan's Run, the basis for the MGM 1976 film. He was also known for his television scripts for The Twilight Zone (including "Nothing in the Dark", "Kick the Can", "A Game of Pool", and "A Penny for Your Thoughts"), and the first telecast episode of Star Trek, entitled "The Man Trap". He also wrote the story and screenplay on which the 1960 and 2001 films Ocean's Eleven were based.
Johnson was born in a barn in Cheyenne, Wyoming, was forced to repeat the sixth grade, and dropped out of school entirely in the eighth. He briefly served as a telegraph operator and draftsman in the United States Army, then enrolled at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University) under the G.I. Bill, but quit to return to his travels around the U.S., working as a draftsman, before becoming a writer.
In 1959, Johnson wrote the story "I'll Take Care of You" for Alfred Hitchcock Presents. From 1959 onward, Johnson's work began to regularly appear in magazines such as Playboy, Los Angeles, The Twilight Zone Magazine, Rogue, and Gamma, and he began to write stories and scripts for TV. In 1960, he co-wrote the treatment (with Jack Golden Russell) for the Rat Pack film Ocean's 11, although most of the details were changed for the actual film. Later, Johnson joined the Southern California School of Writers that included, among others, William F. Nolan, Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson and Ray Bradbury.
Through them he met Rod Serling, to whom he sold his story "All of Us Are Dying", which was produced as "The Four of Us Are Dying", scripted by Serling. Eventually, after selling other stories and having them scripted by other writers for the show, Johnson asked Serling to let him attempt a teleplay for the series, which was "A Penny for Your Thoughts". Later, after completing more scripts for The Twilight Zone, he worked as a writer for other television series, including Honey West, Wanted Dead or Alive, Route 66 and Kung Fu. Johnson also wrote the Star Trek episode "The Man Trap", which was the first episode telecast. Johnson briefly had a L.A.-based radio program called "The Writer and the Story" which featured interviews with authors, including Charles Beaumont and William F. Nolan. As his career progressed, Johnson formed, in the 1960s, a loose, short-lived federation with fellow authors and friends Matheson, Theodore Sturgeon, and others called "The Green Hand." The intent was to leverage their works in the fashion of a union within the Hollywood system for TV production. Unfortunately, the enterprise fell apart after a few months. In his later years, he wrote comic books and was a frequent guest at science fiction and comics conventions. Johnson co-created the comic book series Deepest Dimension Terror Anthology with cartoonist and author Jay Allen Sanford.
Johnson married Lola Brownstein on October 10, 1952, in Los Angeles, and fathered two children, Paul and Judy. He was a vocal advocate for the legalization of marijuana. Along with his writing output, Johnson was instrumental to the early development of San Diego Comic Con. He was also a longtime vegetarian.
Johnson died on Christmas Day 2015, of bladder and prostate cancer at a Veterans Administration Medical Center hospital in North Hills, California. Johnson was survived by his son Paul, his daughter Judy, and his wife Lola of 63 years. He is interred at Riverside National Cemetery.
|1976||Inkpot Award||Lifetime achievement||Won|||
|Nebula Award||Nebula Award for Best Script||Logan's Run||Nominated|||
|1977||Hugo Award||Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation||Logan's Run||Nominated|||
|1980||Balrog Award||Best works and achievements of speculative fiction||A Penny For Your Thoughts (The Twilight Zone) (S 2:Ep 16)||Nominated|||
|Nothing in the Dark (The Twilight Zone) (S 3:Ep 16)||Nominated|||
|1981||Sea Change (The Twilight Zone)1||Nominated|||
|1982||All of Us Are Dying (Twilight Zone May 1982)2||Won|||
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