Love Story director Arthur Hiller dies at 92


Arthur Hiller, the Hollywood director who received an Oscar nomination for the hit romantic tragedy Love Story, has died at the age of 92.

His death was announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He died of natural causes.

Arthur Hiller

Hiller, who served as Academy president from 1993 to 1997, had a career that spanned dozens of popular movies and TV shows.

Although since dismissed by many as overly sentimental, Love Story, with Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal as star-crossed Ivy League lovers, was one of the most popular movies of 1970.

The film, based on the popular novel of the same name by Erich Segal, reduced thousands of movie-goers to tears and created a national catch phrase: "Love means never having to say you're sorry."

Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal

MacGraw said in a statement that Hiller was "an integral part of one of the most important experiences of my life".

"He was a remarkable, gifted, generous human being and I will miss him terribly," MacGraw said. "My heart and love go out to his family."

Hiller recalled in 1991 that the film almost did not get made.

Ali MacGraw and Arthur Hiller

"Paramount was in rocky financial shape," he recalled, and executives wanted to cancel the project. But production boss Robert Evans loved the script and allowed Hiller to proceed -- if he would spend only 2 million dollars. The director brought the film in 25,000 dollars under budget, then insisted on spending 15,000 dollars for memorable scenes in the Boston snow.

Love Story kicked off a busy two decades of work for Hiller, who had got his start directing television shows suck as Gunsmoke, Perry Mason and The Rifleman in the 1950s.

He directed nearly two dozen feature films between 1970 and 1990 and was equally at ease with comedy or drama. He even helmed a musical, 1972´s Man Of La Mancha, with Peter O'Toole and Sophia Loren, and a biography, 1976´s WC Fields And Me, with Rod Steiger and Valarie Perrine.

Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal in 1971

Hiller married Gwen Pechet in 1948 and the couple had a son, Henryk, and daughter, Erica. They were married for 68 years until her death in June.