"All endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time."
Mitchell David “Mitch” Albom (born May 23, 1958) is an American author, journalist, screenwriter, dramatist, radio and television broadcaster, and musician. His books have sold over 35 million copies worldwide. Having achieved national recognition for sports writing in the earlier part of his career, he is perhaps best known for the inspirational stories and themes that weave through his books, plays, and films.
Tuesdays with Morrie
Albom’s breakthrough book came about after a friend of his viewed Morrie Schwartz’s interview with Ted Koppel on ABC News Nightline in 1995, in which Schwartz, a sociology professor, spoke about living and dying with a terminal disease, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease). Albom, who had been close with Schwartz during his college years at Brandeis, felt guilty about not keeping in touch so he reconnected with his former professor, visiting him in suburban Boston and eventually coming every Tuesday for discussions about life and death. Albom, seeking a way to pay for Schwartz’s medical bills, sought out a publisher for a book about their visits. Although rejected by numerous publishing houses, Doubleday accepted the idea shortly before Schwartz’s death, and Albom was able to fulfill his wish to pay Schwartz’s bills.
The book, Tuesdays with Morrie, was published in 1997, a small volume that chronicled Albom’s time spent with his professor. The initial printing was 20,000 copies. As word of mouth grew, the book sales slowly increased and landed the book a brief appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, nudging the book onto the New York Times bestseller’s list in October 1997. It steadily climbed, reaching the number-one position six months later. It remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 205 weeks. One of the top selling memoirs of all time, Tuesdays With Morrie has sold over 14 million copies and has been translated into 45 languages.
Oprah Winfrey produced a television movie adaptation by the same name for ABC, starring Hank Azaria as Albom and Jack Lemmon as Morrie. It was the most-watched TV movie of 1999 and won four Emmy Awards. Albom and playwright Jeffrey Hatcher later co-authored a two-man theater play that opened Off Broadway in the fall of 2001, starring Alvin Eienstein as Morrie and Jon Tenney as Albom.