Thursday, January 21, 2010

Erich Segal

"Love means never having to say your sorry" -Erich Segal

Its shaping up to be a pretty sad few weeks for the word of entertainment. Now while this man didn't have much to do with music you will soon see why he fits into my blog perfectly. Erich Segal, the Yale University professor whose first novel, "Love Story", became a pop-culture phenomenon, selling more than 20 million copies in three dozen languages and spawning an iconic catchphrase of the 1970s, died Sunday in London. He was 72.

Born and raised in Brooklyn from an early age he had a talent for writing. Growing up for the first six years with his grandparents (because his parents apartment would not allow children...crazy huh?) he often would write and perform plays for them in the living room. His father was adamant of him becoming a Rabbi but Erich knew this wasn't the path for him and put himself through Harvard with duel degrees in literature. While completing his doctorate he became a professor at Yale and his writings just took off. He wrote many off broadway plays would garnered him attention and even got him an agent.

Next he fulfilled a big dream of his of becoming a "Hollywood writer" when he co-wrote the screenplay for the now infamous Yellow Submarine in 1968 based off of Lee Minoff's story. Soon he found himself flying back and orth between Yale and California hobnobbing with the likes of John Lennon.

His next work turned out to be his most famous. He first wrote "Love Story" as a screenplay but was persuaded by his agent to turn it into a novel. It went through 21 hardcover printings in the first 12 months, and the first paperback run of 4.3 million copies was said to be the largest initial print order in publishing history. Again this was the late 1960s.

Love Story revolves around the attraction between Oliver, a Harvard hockey player, and Jenny, a working-class Radcliffe girl who ultimately dies of a mysterious disease. The novel soon was turned into a movie which was a box office hit staring Ryan O'Neil in 1970. This movie struck a cord with critics and audiences alike, who enjoyed its heartfelt sentimental tone. (Now on a personal note if you have not seen this movie and are a fan of such movies as The Notebook go rent this immediately, if you thought you cried at that movie.....this is a whole other ballgame).

After the success of Love Story, Erich returned to teaching at a collegiate level and writing novels. He wrote another best selling novel called The Class (1985) which was based on his own Harvard class while he was in school.

Since then, he chose to move to London to live with his wife and children for the last 25 years. He died from a heart attack on Monday.

Enjoy this montague from Love Story. Frances Lai won an Oscar for his score.

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