Erich Segal (June 16, 1937 – January 17, 2010) was an American author, screenwriter, and Classics Professor. He was best known for writing the phenomenally successful novel Love Story (1970), and the hit major motion picture of the same name. Photo by James R. Glenn
The movie was nominated for 7 Academy Awards and won Erich a Golden Globe for his screenplay. Oliver’s Story, the sequel to Love Story was published in 1977, and the movie was released in 1978.
As his parents’ apartment building did not permit pets or children, my father spent the first six years of his life living with his grandparents at 800 St Marks Avenue, a neat neo-Georgian mansion In Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant.
First published in Granta 104: Fathers (Winter 2008)
Segal loved teaching and writing with an equal passion, but ultimately he viewed himself as a classicist.
Quote: “What I really am and always have been is a professor of classics.”
He taught at Harvard, Yale and Princeton and as a break from the strictures of academic life, in his spare time he wrote several screenplays, including The Beatles, Yellow Submarine.
His irrepressible creative energy meant he also had a parallel career writing musicals and songs, (one with Charles Aznavour). As a student at Harvard he wrote for the Hasty Pudding Club and with Joe Raposo he created Sing Muse.
Quote: “Theatre is irresistible, it certainly was for me….screenwriting is like jogging in the park, it was fun.”
When Erich was at Midwood High School, he had a serious canoeing accident and as part of his rehabilitation, the high school coach recommended that he jog. This became a lifelong passion and he competed in the Boston Marathon more than twelve times, breaking 3 hours. This led to him being a commentator for the marathon at the 1972 ABC Olympics and at Montreal in 1976.