published : 2023-12-10

Ali MacGraw Pays Heartfelt Tribute to Late Co-star Ryan O'Neal

O'Neal and MacGraw's Iconic 'Love Story' Success Remembered

Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal posing together on the set of 'Love Story', captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Ali MacGraw, the beloved co-star of Ryan O'Neal in the iconic romantic drama 'Love Story,' has broken her silence following O'Neal's passing at the age of 82 on Friday.

In a statement to Fox News Digital, MacGraw expressed her heartfelt tribute to O'Neal, with whom she shared a deep bond both on-screen and off-screen. She reflected on their time working together, stating that it was one of the greatest experiences of her film career, and that their friendship endured throughout the years.

MacGraw emphasized O'Neal's skill as an actor, describing him as both charming and funny. She credited him with being a significant factor in her own success, acknowledging his generosity as her co-star in 'Love Story.'

The news of O'Neal's death did not come as a surprise to MacGraw, as she had been aware of his declining health for many years. She expressed her condolences to his four children and those who loved him dearly. MacGraw also revealed that they had the opportunity to work together once again in the road company for 'Love Letters,' which she described as a wonderful experience.

O'Neal's cause of death has not yet been released, but the actor had been battling prostate cancer since 2012, in addition to his previous diagnosis of chronic leukemia.

A still from 'Love Story' showcasing the undeniable chemistry between Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal, taken with a Nikon D850

The timeless film 'Love Story,' directed by Erich Segal, captivated audiences with its heart-wrenching tale of two Harvard College students from different backgrounds who fall deeply in love and face a tragic twist of fate.

The movie, adapted from Segal's bestselling novel of the same name, resonated with viewers worldwide and received seven Academy Award nominations, including a nod for Best Picture. Both O'Neal and MacGraw earned Oscar nominations for their performances and took home Golden Globe Awards.

Not only did 'Love Story' become one of the most beloved romantic movies of all time, but it also played a pivotal role in saving Paramount Pictures from financial ruin, grossing $130 million at the global box office.

In 2020, MacGraw and O'Neal reunited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the film's premiere. During the interview, they reflected on the enduring chemistry they shared on-screen and the impact their characters had on audiences.

For MacGraw, reading the story for the first time was a powerful experience, bringing her to tears. Although the famous line 'Love means never having to say you’re sorry' has become synonymous with the film, MacGraw remarked that it doesn't hold true in real life. She emphasized the importance of learning from mistakes and working to heal the pain caused to loved ones.

Ali MacGraw honoring Ryan O'Neal's memory at the 50th anniversary celebration of 'Love Story', snapped with a Sony A7R III

Despite the initial challenges in finding the perfect pairing for the film, O'Neal's chemistry with MacGraw was undeniable. Their connection has continued to resonate with audiences over the past 50 years.

The legacy of 'Love Story' lives on at Harvard, where the film is still screened annually for freshmen. MacGraw shared that students enthusiastically shout out her famous line, further cementing the enduring impact of the film's message.

In this thrilling and heartfelt tribute, Ali MacGraw honors the memory of her dear co-star Ryan O'Neal, reminding us of the enduring power of love and the profound impact of their iconic film 'Love Story.'