The author of more than 50 novels, 37 of them featuring Boston private eye Spenser, Robert Parker was at his desk writing a 38th when he suffered a fatal heart attack at age 77 on Jan. 18. Known for his spare sentences and blockbuster sales—his books have sold more than 6 million copies worldwide—he served as an inspiration to fellow crime writers. “His dialogue was completely believable,” says Lisa Scottoline. “He got the women right too, and they weren’t subordinate.” His 53-year marriage to wife Joan may have helped with that, but it came from his heart. “Bob,” says author Sue Grafton, “was a dear soul.”


“He was brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!” says actor Ali MacGraw of Erich Segal, who died of a heart attack on Jan. 17 at age 72. Though critics dismissed Love Story, his first novel, it catapulted Segal (along with MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal, who starred in the 1970 film) to fame and gave the world a much-quoted catchphrase: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” A former classics professor at Yale, Segal, who had Parkinson’s disease for the last 25 years, wrote eight subsequent novels but never duplicated his early success. “He was a terrific guy,” says Ryan O’Neal. “He’ll be missed.”

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