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Author and sportswriter Mitch Albom was born in Passaic, NJ, on May 23,1958. He received his B.A. in sociology from Brandeis University in 1979, his M.J. in 1981 and his M.B.A. in 1982 from Columbia University. He lives in Farmington Hills, MI, with his wife, Janine Sabino.
In 1997, Albom published Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson. The book was the result of his visits with his former professor, Morrie Schwartz.
While a student at Brandeis University, Albom was strongly influenced by the unique Professor Schwartz, a remarkable teacher with unusual teaching methods. He was that rare teacher who developed a close rapport with his students. Albom promised to keep in touch with Schwartz after graduation but, over the next sixteen years, didn't call or visit. Watching television one night, he saw Schwartz on ABC's Nightline. The professor had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. A hasty trip to Massachusetts to see his old friend and mentor led to weekly meetings during the rest of Schwartz's life.
Rich with emotions, Tuesdays with Morrie is a memorial to a wise mentor. It resembles a conversation between the two, with Schwartz passing on life lessons to his former student. Albom was struck by the realization that although he was young, healthy and successful, his friend and teacher, who was dying, was a happier, more peaceful person. Albom re-evaluated his own priorities, coming to terms with his workaholic ambitions and the feeling that he had lost sight of things of real value. He wrote about how, without even realizing it, he had slowly abandoned his youthful ideals to become cynical, shallow and materialistic. In his final days, Professor Schwartz helped his former student to re-focus his life, to slow down and to enjoy the moment.
Morrie Schwartz died in November of 1995. Albom used his publishing advance from Doubleday to help pay his friend's outstanding medical bills and has split the subsequent royalties with Schwartz's family.
Albom's writing career began in 1981, writing for the Queens Tribune in Flushing, NY. He has written for Sport, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Geo and the Fort Lauderdale News and Sun Sentinel and has been with the Detroit Free Press since 1985. He has also been the sports director on WLLZ radio (Farmington Hills, MI), co-host of the sports talk show "Sunday Sports Albom," commentator on WDIV-TV (Detroit) and host of "Monday Sports Albom" and the nationally syndicated sports talk show "The Mitch Albom Show."
Albom has been named #1 Sports Columnist in the Nation for more than a decade by the Sports Editors of America (ASPE), the highest honor in his field. Throughout his career, he has received more than 100 writing awards from AP, UPI, Headliners Club and the National Sportswriters and Broadcasters Associations.
His work has appeared in many national and international publications, including Sports Illustrated, GQ, Sport, The New York Times, TV Guide and USA Today, as well as on the Internet with MS-NBC. He is a panelist on ESPN's "Sports Reporters" and a regular contributing commentator to that network.
Albom is a communicator. He highlights athletic courage and determination while still providing honest commentary on a team's performance. His ability to humanize sports, while writing about personalities and personal struggles, has won him a large following.
Albom is also an accomplished songwriter and lyricist. His song "Cookin' For Two," written for the mid-1990s TV movie re-make of Christmas In Connecticut, was nominated for a Cable Ace Award.
Albom has founded two charities in the Detroit area. Since 1989, The Dream Fund has allowed disadvantaged children to become involved with the arts. A Time To Help, founded in 1998, brings volunteers together monthly to help with projects such as staffing shelters, building homes with Habitat for Humanity and operating meals-on-wheels programs. Albom serves on boards of various charities, including CATCH (Caring Athletes Team for Children's and Henry Ford Hospitals), Forgotten Harvest and the Michigan Hospice Organization. In 1999, he was named National Hospice Organization's Man of the Year.