Erich Segal, author of the popular novel Love Story, died last Sunday at the age of 72 from complications of Parkinson’s disease.
The 1970 novel that made him famous was a weepie about Oliver and Jenny, two college students who fall in love and marry … shortly after which Jenny suffers a tragically melodramatic death from cancer. A huge bestseller, the book was made into an even more popular movie starring Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw … all of which provides added proof to support the contention that the 1970s were mostly crap.
The character of Oliver was, according to Segal, a composite of two Harvard students he knew: Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones. Which would, conceivably, make him a block of wood with a bad complexion.
The inane catchphrase, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” may be laid at the feet of Segal. Inane? Hell, yes: Anyone who has ever been in a loving relationship of long duration knows that being able to say you’re sorry (and meaning it!) is the mark of a mature, serious relationship.
Segal was a professor at Yale writing about Harvard students, which may partially explain his ridiculous perspective on romantic love. A Princeton man would have known better.
Requiescat in pace, Professor Segal. Love means being sorry to say you’re dead.
Illustration: Posted by the author, inspired by Robert Indiana’s iconic 1996 LOVE graphic.