Ryan O’Neal is being remembered by his loved ones today — the “Love Story” actor died on Dec. 8 at the age of 82.
Co-star Ali MacGraw released a statement on Saturday regarding his death.
“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. I know that a huge part of my success was due to his generosity as my co-star,” she said in a note obtained by Deadline.
The “Getaway” star, now 84, went on: “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. My heart goes out to all four of his children and to the people who loved him most.”
“I shall miss him and the fun we shared……and I pray that he will find peace at last,” she concluded.
MacGraw and O’Neal starred together in Paramount Pictures’ passionate romantic drama “Love Story” in 1970 and it spawned a sequel in 1978 called “Oliver’s Story.”
The tale of love and tragedy followed a young couple, Jenny and Oliver, who come from different socioeconomic backgrounds to tie the knot.
Conflict arises when Oliver discovers that his beloved is terminally ill and dies, breaking his heart.
The feature grossed $173 million in the global box office at the time of its release, earning seven Oscar nominations and seven Golden Globe nods.
MacGraw and the “Peyton Place” alum looked back on the iconic movie in 2021 for its 50th anniversary.
The words were uttered by Oliver following Jenny’s death as he solemnly walked out of her hospital room.
“I’m still trying to get to the bottom of it, because I’ve had to say ‘I’m sorry’ a lot in my life,” O’Neal joked at the time.
“That it still touches people is amazing,” MacGraw chimed in.
Of their close bond they created during filming that has lasted decades, the “A Bridge Too Far” actor noted that their chemistry was “magic.”
“We had absolutely nothing in common,” she remembered of the day they first met on set. “We just clicked.”
“We were just kissed with luck. They had to drag me away from her,” he quipped.
O’Neal had “passed away peacefully” on Friday, his 56-year-old son Patrick had announced yesterday on social media.
“My father Ryan O’Neal has always been my hero. I looked up to him and he was always bigger than life,” he emotionally penned.
While his cause of death has yet to be revealed, O’Neal was diagnosed with leukemia in 2001 and with prostate cancer in 2012.
He then underwent back surgery in 2017 and infamously suffered from alcoholism and drug abuse over the course of his career.
“He meant the world to me. I loved him very much and know he loved me too. I’ll miss him forever.”
The “Bad News Bears” actress starred with her father in 1973’s “Paper Moon” — a film that scored her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at the age of 10.