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What Is The Relationship Between Mitch Albom And Morrie Schwartz In Tuesdays With Morrie?
Mitch Albom And Morrie Schwartz: When ABC News’ Ted Koppel was still a regular on “Sunday Morning,” they filmed three episodes of “Nightline” with a retired university professor who was nearing the end of his life due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s illness). Some mornings I wake up angry and bitter,” Morrie Schwartz stated. “Unfortunately, its effects are temporary. Then I get up and declare, “I want to live.”
They had no idea that their discussions with Schwartz would become some of their most watched shows ever. As it turned out, though, that was only the start. Because a young sportswriter named Mitch Albom was among the audience.
He told Koppel, “I had been so close to him in college.” “Every course he offered, I enrolled in. On the day I received my diploma, I made a solemn commitment to him that I would always be in touch with him. This led me to the conclusion, “Oh, my God, he’s dying. Okay, so what do I do now? How do I make up for the things I have neglected in the past?”
Starting on the Tuesday after Morrie’s death, Albom would regularly pay a visit to Schwartz till the end of his life. After that, Albom published “Tuesdays with Morrie.” It’s possible that you’ve heard of it.
Koppel stated, “Good writer that you are, Mitch, you’re just not Mark Twain. Okay, so what exactly is chemistry? How many copies of the book have been sold after so many years?”
“Roughly 18 million,” that elusive number.
“Has any other biography ever sold more copies?”
“What, a book of autobiography? Not a huge number.”
It has been 25 years since “Tuesdays with Morrie” first appeared in print. The National Book Festival in Washington, DC, recently recognized its continuing success.
A reader proudly displayed her yellowed book to Albom, explaining that this was her third copy.
Yet another lady chimed up, “I read ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ during my sophomore year of high school.”
Okay, so I was homework, huh? Inquiring minds wanted to know what Albom thought.
“Yes. On the other hand, I found it entertaining.”
Inquiring host Koppel questioned, “It has been adopted by people of all different backgrounds. Why do people read it, and what does it provide that other books don’t?”
“The success of “Tuesdays with Morrie,” I’ve realized, isn’t due to my writing skills. My name is not Mark Twain. This is the tale of a younger, a bit bewildered individual and an older, dying individual who says, “Let me tell you what I’ve learned.” Many people can identify with both of those people.
What do you believe it was about your version of “Nightline,” Ted and Morrie, that made it the most popular one in the show’s history?
“There was obviously a weakness that made Morrie available to everyone,” Koppel said in response. People were witnessing him lose the will to live, yet he maintained his dignity throughout the ordeal.
You’d be right in assuming that this is a dramatic premise. There is a play, and Albom claims, “There have been, like, 600 different performances of the play throughout the world.” The play has been translated into more languages than he can count.
Then there came the film adaptation, which starred Jack Lemmon as Morrie and Hank Azaria as Mitch and was released in 1999.
I do recall my first day on the set of the film,” Albom said. “When you know how to die, Mitch, you know how to live. That’s a quote I heard Jack Lemmon said.
“In a private conversation, Jack Lemmon revealed to me that he had been diagnosed with cancer. As I recall, he interrogated me. He wasn’t inquiring about Morrie, but rather about himself. Afterward, he confided in me that among all the parts he’d done, that one held the most significance.”
There is a fine line between meaningful teaching and the compulsion to commercialize because of the book’s widespread popularity, “Tuesdays with Morrie.” “While this was happening, I received a message that read, “We want to produce a Morrie calendar with quotes from Morrie on every…” I strongly rejected the idea.
A message saying “We want to do a bumper sticker” was then sent. Clearly, I rejected that idea. Then they remarked, “Someone wants to build a bracelet,” which begs the question: WWMD? Morrie’s question: “What Would Morrie Do?” Instead of asking, “What Would Jesus Do?” I’m so relieved that I said no to everything they offered.”
If anyone’s life has been altered by “Tuesdays with Morrie,” it’s probably Albom’s.
“It really flipped your world upside down,” Koppel added.
“Totally. People used to recognize me as “the sportsman” at airports before “Tuesdays with Morrie.” Can anyone predict who will emerge victorious from the Super Bowl? Patriots, I’d yell, then keep heading up the escalator.
This was said by a reader of “Tuesdays with Morrie”: “Hey, um, my mother died of cancer and the last thing we did together was read your book. I’d want to have a conversation with you about something if that’s okay. Furthermore, you must refrain from shouting “Patriots” and instead patiently listen to what is being said. No matter how content they appear to be on the surface, most individuals are carrying around the emotional scars of past hurts and betrayals.”
To help cover Morrie’s medical expenses, Albom’s book was his original inspiration. Albom affirmed that his family has received and continues to receive fifty percent of the earnings.
Albom has also gotten actively involved in humanitarian efforts: “That is all thanks to Morrie; he deserves all the credit. Because I observed Morrie always assisting other people despite the fact that he was dying, he shared with me the proverb “Giving is life.” And I responded, “I don’t understand. That pity ought to be directed at you, not them. Because he reasoned, that was taking. And taking is like dying to me while giving is like coming to life.”
Albom now oversees ten different philanthropic initiatives in Detroit, in addition to an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. It was his words: “Since 2010, I’ve been going once a month, and Morrie is correct. Writing a book is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life. Even though there are frequent power outages, high temperatures, and other unpleasantries at my place, it is the only place where I can get a good night’s rest.”
More than 27 years ago, Albom recorded more than 20 hours of chats with Morrie, which he now shares with the world through podcasts.
Morrie: “Look at me.”
Mitch: “You’re smiling.”
Morrie: “I love you.”
Mitch: “Come on.”
That didn’t come as a surprise to you when Morrie stated that, did it?” Koppel asked.
“In fact, he frequently engaged in such behavior in the past. ‘Mitch?’ And since I was always tinkering with something, he’d check to make sure I was looking. When I looked at him, he would remark, “I love you.” At the conclusion, I declared, “I love you, too.”
“You spoke with Morrie, therefore visit his tomb on Tuesdays so we can carry on the conversation. I’m curious whether you’ve ever attempted this.”
That question has been answered “many times,” as Albom put it. “Every time I go to Boston, this happens. I’ll cut you a bargain, Mitch,” he offered. If you want to talk to me after I die, I will listen. That’s the fundamental idea of “Tuesdays with Morrie,” in my opinion, that if you live your life the way Morrie did, you’re not really gone even after death.
There will always be a part of everyone you ever touched that thinks about you and remembers you fondly. I’m sure that Morrie’s voice is always at the back of my mind. To me, he sounds like a coin jangling in a piggy bank. Picking it up and giving it a good shake reveals it.”