"Love Story" Author Erich Segal Dead at 72

By Caitlin Millat
|  Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010  |  Updated 5:20 PM CDT
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2009 in Memoriam

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Author Erich Segal, the man behind the novel "Love Story" that became an romantic film classic, has died of a heart attack, his daughter said Tuesday.

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Author Erich Segal, the man behind the novel "Love Story" that became an romantic film classic, has died of a heart attack, his daughter said Tuesday. He was 72.

Segal, a former Yale classics professor, penned "Love Story," about two college students who fall in love, in 1970 while working at the Ivy League university. The movie was later turned into the hit film, which starred Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw as Oliver and Jenny, the romantic pair. In the novel and the Oscar-winning film, Jenny discovers she is dying of cancer -- and Oliver stays by her side until the end.

The author said Oliver was based on a combination of Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones, roommates at Harvard University who Segal knew while he studied there. Segal, however, denied claims Jenny was based on Gore's wife, Tipper.

Segal had suffered from Parkinson's disease for 25 years, his daughter Francesca Segal told the Associated Press Monday. He died of a heart attack at his home in London Sunday, Francesca said.

Segal, born in New York City in 1937, also wrote the sequel to "Love Story," called "Oliver's Story."

He is survived by Karen James as well as daughters Francesca and Miranda.

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