What can you say about a simple romantic story that spent more than a year on the New York Times hardcover best-seller list, became the first modern blockbuster movie and saved Paramount films from collapse?

For myself, not much, because somehow I missed it. But London Independent columnist Liz Hoggard has this to say about the 1970 hit, Love Story, whose author, Erich Segal, died January 17.

I loved every minute of Love Story – from Ali MacGraw’s severe parting and mini-kilts to the do-it-yourself-wedding. We swooned over Ryan O’Neal intoning, “What can you say about a 25-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful. And brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. And the Beatles. And me.” But you know that movie sold women of my generation a pup. Romance is not like that.

The papers may be full of tributes to Erich Segal who wrote the screenplay for the 1970 film. Apparently he was a classical scholar and poet. But I’d argue he was a far more dangerous chick flick writer than the whole Mills and Boon oeuvre put together. Like most seven-year-old girls I grew up believing men liked feisty, working-class girls with dark hair and killer glasses. Even when they’re difficult and hate sport and win all the verbal duels. And die. Oh boy did I have a lot to learn. As for the immortal quote from the book: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” – every star-crossed lover soon finds out, it means saying sorry every day.

Agreed. And I guess that Mr Segal’s career as a classics professor did more for the class of 1970 than his movie scripts.

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet