Apple to the Core

About Ali MacGraw

Ali MacGraw was born Alice MacGraw on April 1, 1938 in Pound Ridge, New York.  She was born to an Irish-American Father and a Jewish mother. She has one brother. Both parents were artists and coming from an artistic family, Ali realized from an early age she wanted a career in the arts. She attended the prestigious Wellesley College which boasts Hilary Rodham Clinton and Diane Sawyer as alumni. 

At age 22, Ali became an assistant to Diana Vreeland at Harper's Bazaar and stylist at Vogue  Her natural beauty and grace impressed the photographers and she was asked to move in front of the camera and do some photo shoots. Her clean, fresh look was a bit hit and she began a successful second career modeling and appearing in TV commercials.  She started the Less-is-More look as she needed and used little make-up thus creating a huge trend in women wanting to look natural rather than made-up.  She soon turned to acting.

She began her career in acting in 1968 in the movie A Lovely Way to Die  but it wasn't until she starred in the movie Goodbye Columbus that she caught the eye of Robert Evans, a Paramount executive.  They fell in love and were married in 1971 and had one child, a son Josh. With Evans guiding her career, her next film role would be one with which she would forever be associated.  In 1970, she was cast as the beautiful Jennifer Cavalleri in the huge hit Love Story co-starring Ryan O'Neal for which she received an Academy Award nomination. The role she would play after Love Story would change her life dramatically.

In 1973, she was cast as Carol McCoy in the hit The Getaway in which she co-starred with Steve McQueen.  They fell madly and passionately in love while filming and Ali would eventually leave Robert Evans to be with McQueen.  The Getaway would be her last role while she was married to him.  She gave up her career to become a full-time wife to placate McQueen, he preferred his wife to be in the role of a homemaker rather than a career woman.  While Ali was happy to give up her interests to make Steve happy, he was unwilling to do the same. While he was a talented and well-loved actor, he was not a supportive or faithful husband.  Soon after they were married, he returned to his old ways of drinking, taking drugs and having numerous affairs.  Ali was devastated and soon realized she needed more than to be just Mrs. Steve McQueen to fulfill her life. 

She began discussing a return to films with Steve and to her dismay, Steve became furious and demanded she remain a housewife only.  He didn't want her to take classes or have any outside interests because he wanted her to be at home and waiting for him when he decided to come home. With Steve living his double life, she was unable to maintain hers as the dutiful wife and began looking at scripts. In 1978, she signed on for a role in Sam Peckinpah's Convoy and her marriage to McQueen came to a very nasty end.  She had signed a pre-nuptial agreement and had very little of her own money since she hadn't worked in so long. Steve controlled everything.  Consequently, he kicked Ali out of their marital home and moved the woman with whom he'd been having his latest affair, into their home even as Josh was still living there and Ali's clothes were still in the closet. Her name was Barbara Minty and she would become his third wife.  Even Steve's first wife Neile was disgusted by his behavior and made the remark that it was not his most shining moment. In Steve's mind, because she had refused to do everything he'd asked, he felt Ali had betrayed him and he would never forgive her.  They divorced in 1978. 

Ali had always hoped to reconcile their differences with Steve but, on his deathbed, he would not see or speak to her. Some say it is because he did not want her to see him in his condition.  According to Marshall Terrill's biography, many of Steve's closest friends and confidantes are convinced she was the one true love of his life which may be the reason he could not bear to see her eyes when she saw him.  Neither she nor her son, Josh, who adored Steve and considered him his father, would find peace or closure with that chapter in their lives.

After her divorce, Ali had a run of bad luck including a fire which destroyed her home in California. With that, she moved to New Mexico. She would continue working in some films and TV and was cast in the mini-series hit The Winds of War with Robert Mitchum, China Rose, Gunsmoke: The Long Ride and Natural Causes.  She even did a quick stint on Dynasty playing Lady Ashley Mitchell.  In 1995, Ali MacGraw published her autobiography, Moving Pictures which she wrote about her alcoholism, male dependence and her treatment at the Betty Ford Clinic. 

She began living a healthier lifestyle which included no smoking or drinking and she also became a devotee of Hatha Yoga.  She, along with American Yoga Master Eric Schiffmann, released the video: Ali MacGraw Yoga: Mind and Body.  It was hugely successful and she was credited as being the person responsible for the recent popularity of Yoga.  In 2003, she narrated the the documentary Yoga, The Fire of Yoga. 

Today, she divides her time between her homes in New Mexico and California. In 1991, she was listed as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World.  In 2002, she and Ryan O'Neal made a special appearance at the Academy Awards to present the Humanitarian Award.  She has been a outspoken advocate for animal rights and made a Public Service Announcement for PETA in 2006.  Also in 2006, she made her Broadway debut in Festen, which she found terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. Unfortunately, the play closed after only one month but she was happy to have had the experience. She is still close friends with Steve's first wife Neile and attended Chad's wedding in 1987. View Pictures of Chad's wedding here.  She has remained life-long friends with Robert Evans and accompanied him when he received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  She also donates her time to preserving the heritage and historical sites of her adopted state of New Mexico. 


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