At the beginning of the 1970s Larry Goldstein’s career as reporter, filmmaker, film critic and writer about film was taking off. (Some of this might have been predicted from his creative direction of our freshman show, “Take Back Your Monks.”)
After working as a reporter for United Press International and ABC News from 1963-1968, he joined NBC News as documentary filmmaker for the program “Chronolog.” At the same time, he wrote reviews for such publications at The Nation and The New York Times. He was also at work on a major book about the technical aspects of filmmaking to be called “Into Film.” It would address subjects such as visual imagery, types and uses of film cameras, lighting, sound and editing. With his co-author Jay Kaufman, he hoped for 1973 publication.
Then, in 1972, a terrible accident occurred. Larry was electrocuted while repairing his television set at his home. He left his wife, Karen, whom he married in 1965, and two young children, Karli and Soren. The accident was widely reported. Dick Hubert ’60 said at the time, “Larry was a fine reporter, a creative filmmaker and a newsman of integrity…. His is a brilliant talent cruelly snuffed out by fate.”
Jay Kaufman finished the book “Into Film,” which Dutton published in 1976 with Larry as first author. In the preface Kaufman wrote “The inspiration for this book was [Larry’s], and the volume represents a large part of the last three years of his life. The thoughtfulness, care and excitement that he brought to writing created what are for me some of the finest passages and most vivid insights to be found in these pages.”
Even before the book was published, Karen Goldstein decided in 1973 to present to Amherst the several hundred books on the subject he had collected (including titles such as Sergei Eisenstein’s “Notes of a Film Director”). Amherst established the Laurence Goldstein Memorial Collection and the Laurence Goldstein Memorial Fund to develop the collection.
The gift came at an opportune moment. In the words of the Library’s newsletter, “In including film study in the curriculum Amherst last year conformed to the practice of some 535 other universities and colleges, according to the American Film Institute’s study. On the campus where he was once an undergraduate, Laurence Goldstein’s books will be instrumental in the cultivation of that film literacy which was his own chosen subject.”
That was a fitting tribute to one who was “a good listener, possessed a subtle wit and tended to play down his many talents. In all, we remember him as an extremely perceptive and sensitive person.” (This was from the original 1972 “In Memory” piece.)
Laurence Meyers Goldstein died in Leonia, N.J., Feb. 12, 1972.