Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Erich Segal's intellectual creds

Have to say I was a little surprised reading Erich Segal's obit. He died this month at 72. Love Story of course was mocked by the critics - but audiences loved it - when released in 1970. But there is more to this movie, and to Segal, than usually thought (and no I never saw it, being of the snobbish, uh hum, critical class)....Segal was actually a serious academic scholar at Harvard. He was fluent in Latin and had a working knowledge of several other languages. He taught Classics. His students described his classes as "living theatre"..... At Harvard he met Ali MacGraw (who attended nearby Wellesley) ...... In his spare time Segal wrote light novels. He envisioned Love Story orginally, yup, as a movie. But alas the studios rejected the screenplay as tripe. But MacGraw persisted, convincing Paramount to make it. She of course was in a starring role with Ryan O'Neal. Acclaimed director (and Canuckster - born in Edmonton) Arthur Hiller (Plaza Suite, Author Author!) directed .....The thin novel at 131 pages flew off the shelves. When nominated for a National Book Award even Segal had doubts. "I honestly don't think I should be placed on the same page as Bellow and Updike"..... Segal was also a devoted runner ...... And surprise surprise to all us snobbish film critics, he wrote the screenplay to The Beatles' Yellow Submarine ..... Btw, according to IMDB Love Story is up 300 per cent in popularity this week ..... So Erich Segal, Rest in Peace.

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