Ryan O’Neal is being remembered by his Love Story co-star Ali MacGraw as a “skilled actor” who was “charming and funny too.”
In a statement to ET, MacGraw credits O’Neal for her success. She also said her heart goes out to his four children and to the people who loved him most. O’Neal died on Friday “peacefully,” his son, Patrick, shared on social media. O’Neal was 82.
“Working with Ryan, all those years ago, was one of the great experiences of my film career, and we remained friends ever after. He was a skilled actor, charming and funny too,” MacGraw said in her statement. “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 yesterday morning.
“Thankfully, he was surrounded by his son Patrick and a small group of lifelong, close friends,” she continued. “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.’ 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.”
MacGraw starred opposite O’Neal in the 1970 romance, Love Story. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, MacGraw starred as Jennifer “Jenny” Cavilleri and O’Neal as Oliver Barrett IV, two college students who fall in love despite having very different socioeconomic backgrounds. The American Film Institute ranks Love Story No. 9 on its Top 100 list of greatest love stories of all time. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including O’Neal and MacGraw for for Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively. The film brought home only one Oscar, for Best Original Score.
MacGraw’s statement comes one day after O’Neal’s daughter, Tatum, broke her silence following her father’s death.
In a statement to People, the Oscar winner said she feels “great sorrow” with her father’s passing. She added, “He meant the world to me. I loved him very much and know he loved me too. I’ll miss him forever and I feel very lucky that we ended on such good terms.”