Ryan O’Neal’s “Love Story” costar Ali MacGraw shared an emotional tribute to him after learning of O’Neal’s death on Friday.
“Working with Ryan, all those years ago, was one of the great experiences of my film career, and we remained friends ever after,” MacGraw wrote in a statement shared with CNN on Saturday via a representative.
The pair made an indelible mark in the 1970 tearjerker “Love Story,” in which a wealthy Ivy Leaguer (O’Neal) falls in love with a free-spirited girl (MacGraw), only to watch her die of a terminal illness. The film was a huge success, and both stars earned Oscar nominations for their roles in the Arthur Hiller-directed adaptation of the Erich Segal novel.
“He was a skilled actor, charming and funny too. I know that a huge part of my success was due to his generosity as my co-star. It has been devastating to know just how ill Ryan has been for many years now, and I was not surprised to learn that he had passed away,” MacGraw’s statement on Saturday continued. “Thankfully, he was surrounded by his son Patrick and a small group of lifelong, close friends. My heart goes out to all four of his children and to the people who loved him most.”
“Ryan and I worked together again several years ago with the road company for ‘Love Letters,’” she added, referring to the pair’s onstage reunion for the national tour of the A.R. Gurney play in 2015. “It was a wonderful experience, and I shall miss him and the fun we shared … and I pray that he will find Peace at last.”
Other stars to pay tribute to O’Neal included his “What’s Up, Doc?” and “The Main Event” costar Barbra Streisand, who wrote that she was “sad” to hear the news of the actor’s death on X (formerly Twitter).
“He was funny and charming, and he will be remembered,” she wrote on Friday.
O’Neal, who also starred in “Barry Lyndon” and “Paper Moon,” died Friday, according to his son Patrick, who posted the news to social media. The actor was reportedly 82.
“My dad passed away peacefully today, with his loving team by his side supporting him and loving him as he would us,” Patrick O’Neal wrote on Friday.
He added: “My father Ryan O’Neal has always been my hero. I looked up to him and he was always bigger than life.”
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