‘Love Story’ Star Ali MacGraw Talked Legacy of the Film

by Taylor Cunningham

Ali MacGraw is “shocked” that her breakout movie Love Story is an enduring classic 52 years after its debut.

In the film, college millionaire Oliver Barrett IV meets smart but poor Jenny Cavalleri. And despite their differences, the two fall in love.

However, Oliver’s parents don’t approve of the relationship and threaten to cut their son off if he takes the romance any further. But he chooses Jenny over riches, and they marry. And after they do, tragedy strikes.

In 1971, Love Story won one Oscar and was nominated for six more. MacGraw earned a nod for her portrayal of Jenny, and the movie was also up for Best Picture of the Year.

But Ali MacGraw never imagined the movie would become so iconic.

“I am probably more shocked than anyone at the [lasting] response,” MacGraw told AARP. “I have traveled to all corners of the world, and it is something of an American classic by now.”

And though she’s proud that her movie has gone down as one of the most timeless romances in the world, there is one thing she wishes she could change—the famous line.

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry. It doesn’t mean anything!” she complained to Town and Country Magazine. “I’ve learned that we can make terrible mistakes with people we love.”

Instead, she would replace the quote with a revised version: “Try not to do it again—and try to clean up the hurt. It’s the truth.”

The ‘Love Story’ Star Was Not a Trained Actress

During her interview with AARP, Ali MacGraw admitted that she never took acting classing, and working behind the camera was actually terrifying for her.

“I was never trained as an actress,” she said. “It was frightening for me, every single solitary breathing second. I had some sort of pop-star energy, but I had no qualifications. I was never comfortable.” And perhaps that fear is what led her away from Hollywood.

After Love Story, MacGraw stuck around Tinsel Town to film nine more movies and guest star in two television shows. But then, she retired and moved to New Mexico. She finally agreed to star in one more movie called Glam in 1997, but that was because her son wrote and directed the film.

Now MacGraw is following her true passion for activism. The former actress spends her days advocating for animal rights and raising money for the cancer society, among other selfless acts. And she also collaborates with a program that helps women artisans around the world sell clothing, home goods, and accessories called Ibu Movement.

And in her spare time, she travels around The Land of Enchantment and explores all of the “completely jaw-dropping” views that the state has to offer.