Love Story author Erich Segal dies

By Jessica Elgot, January 19, 2010
Erich Segal

Erich Segal

The American author Erich Segal, who wrote the bestselling novel Love Story, has died aged 72.

He died after a heart attack at home on Sunday, and was buried at Golders Green's Hoop Lane cemetery today.

The son of a rabbi, Mr Segal obtained a doctorate at Harvard. He later became professor of Greek and Latin literature at Harvard University, Yale University and Princeton University. At the time of his death, he was a professor at Wolfson College, Oxford University.

In 1967 he wrote the screenplay for The Beatles' 1968 film Yellow Submarine.

He published his first novel Love Story in 1970, and it became the top seller book of that year and was translated into 33 languages. The novel was turned into a highly successful movie the following year, starring Ali McGraw and Ryan O'Neal.

The most famous line from the novel became steeped in popular culture: "Love means never having to say you're sorry."

Mr Segal published a sequel to the novel in 1977, Oliver's Story. His other works included Man, Woman and Child and The Class.

Mr Segal was married to Karen Marianne James for 35 years and the couple had two daughters. His elder daughter Francesca Segal is a literary columnist for The Observer newspaper and a frequent contributor to the JC. His younger daughter Miranda is a student at Bristol University.

His close friend Ned Temko, a former editor of the JC and now a senior writer on The Observer said: "With Erich's passing the world has not only lost an extraordinary writer and polymath but also a lovely, funny and generous human being."

Last updated: 3:54pm, January 21 2010