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Tribute: Erich Segal

posted by Nell Minow

Erich Segal, who died today at age 72, was a classics scholar who studied ancient literature. He also wrote a blockbuster movie script that became a blockbuster novel, Love Story. We know from the first sentence that its irrepressible heroine is going to die, leaving the narrator, her young husband, devastated. And her explanation to him that “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” became a cultural phenomenon. (Ryan O’Neal, to whom the line was delivered in the film, got to say it as a joke later on in “What’s Up, Doc?”) Segal also contributed to the deliciously witty script of “Yellow Submarine” and wrote several other novels, but he will always be best known for Love Story, corny, yes, but one of the all-time great tear-jerking romances.

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