Leo Buscaglia

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Leo Buscaglia bigraphy, stories - Educators

Leo Buscaglia : biography

March 31, 1924 – June 12, 1998

Felice Leonardo "Leo" Buscaglia PhD (March 31, 1924 – June 12, 1998), also known as "Dr. Love," was an American author and motivational speaker, and a professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Southern California.

Biography

Felice Leonardo Buscaglia was born in Los Angeles, CA on March 31, 1924 into a family of Italian immigrants. He spent his early childhood in Aosta, Italy, before going back to the United States for education. He was a graduate of Theodore Roosevelt High School (Los Angeles). After Navy service in World War II, Buscaglia entered the University of Southern California, where he earned three degrees (BA 1950; MA 1954; PhD 1963) before eventually joining the faculty. Upon retirement, Buscaglia was named Professor at Large, one of only two such designations on campus at that time.

He gained fame on the USC campus through his non-credit course titled "Love 1A," which became the basis for his first book, titled simply LOVE. His dynamic speaking style was discovered by the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and his televised lectures earned great popularity in the 1980s. At one point his talks, always shown during fund raising periods, were the top earners of all PBS programs. This national exposure, coupled with the heartfelt storytelling style of his books, helped make all of his titles national Best Sellers; five were once on the New York Times Best Sellers List simultaneously.

Death

Buscaglia died of a heart attack on June 12, 1998 at his home in Glenbrook, Nevada, near Lake Tahoe. He was 74.

Cultural references

In the comic strip Peanuts, Snoopy walks up to Charlie Brown and his sister Sally, giving them each a great big hug. When he rests his head on their shoulders a little heart floats up into the air around them. In the last panel as Snoopy walks off smiling from ear to ear, Charlie Brown says to the puzzled Sally, "You can always tell when he’s been listening to his Leo Buscaglia tapes.".http://newmelleray.org/sharingform.asp?id=543

A student’s suicide

While teaching at USC, Buscaglia was moved by a student’s suicide to contemplate human disconnectedness and the meaning of life, and began a non-credit class he called Love 1A. His book and numerous recorded and televised lectures, some of which became available through PBS, became extremely well received.