Leo Buscaglia, the professor, author and lecturer on the topic of love whose motivational speeches frequently appeared on PBS during fund drives, died Friday of a heart attack at his home in Lake Tahoe. He was 74.

Buscaglia wrote more than a dozen books. More than 11 million copies were sold in 20 languages.

His first book, “Love,” came out in 1972. Among its followups were “Loving Each Other” and “Living, Loving and Learning.” At one time, five of his books appeared on the New York Times bestseller list. His most recent was “Love Cookbook,” published in 1994.

One of his books, “The Fall of Freddie the Leaf,” was made into an educational film, an audiocassette and a ballet that explored the delicate balance between life and death.

Buscaglia got his start as a supervisor of special education in the Pasadena school system, a position he held from 1960 to 1965.

After leaving teaching, he decided to pursue a longstanding curiosity about religion by traveling to Asia, where he compared Zen Buddhism and Hinduism to the Christianity he practiced. This research led to his book “The Way of the Bull.”

In 1974, Buscaglia took a position as a professor at USC, where he stayed until 1984.

Since leaving USC, he had been writing books and columns and speaking all over the country.

— Ben Fritz