Jewish Entertainment:
Jewish Actors, Playwrights, Comedians, Musicians

Ali MacGraw

Elizabeth Alice "Ali" MacGraw (born April 1, 1939[1][2]) is an American actress. She first gained attention for her role in Goodbye, Columbus in 1969, for which she won a Golden Globe Award, followed by Love Story in 1970, for which she received an Academy Award nomination and won a second Golden Globe. She married actor Steve McQueen in 1973, after appearing with him in the 1972 film The Getaway. After that, MacGraw did not make another film for six years and later retired altogether from show business.



Early life

MacGraw was born in Pound Ridge, New York, the daughter of commercial artists Frances (née Klein) and Richard MacGraw.[2][1]

Her mother was of Hungarian Jewish background and her father was of Scottish descent.[2][3][4] She has one brother, Dick, an artist.[2] MacGraw has described her father as "violent".[5]


Film and television

MacGraw is an alumna of Rosemary Hall (now Choate Rosemary Hall, class of 1955) in Wallingford, Connecticut and Wellesley College (class of 1960), Wellesley, Massachusetts.[2] She began working in 1960 as a photographic assistant at Harper's Bazaar magazine, as an assistant to the legendary fashion maven, Diana Vreeland, where she stayed for six years.[2] MacGraw also worked at Vogue magazine as a fashion model, and as a photographer's stylist. She has also worked as an interior decorator.

MacGraw started her acting career in several television commercials, including one for the Polaroid Swinger camera. MacGraw gained critical notice in the 1969 film Goodbye, Columbus, but real stardom came in 1970 with one of the highest grossing films in U.S history[6], Love Story. MacGraw was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for that performance. Following Love Story, MacGraw was featured on the cover of Time magazine. In 1971, she also appeared on fashion writer Richard Blackwell's worst-dressed list.[7]

In 1972, after appearing in only four films, MacGraw had her footprints and autograph embedded in cement at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. That same year, she co-starred in the action adventure film The Getaway with Steve McQueen. Having taken a break from acting during this time, MacGraw re-emerged in the films Convoy (1978), Players (1979), Just Tell Me What You Want (1980), and then the 1983 television miniseries China Rose and The Winds of War. In 1984, MacGraw joined the hit ABC prime-time soap opera Dynasty as Lady Ashley Mitchell, which, she admitted in a 2011 interview, she did for the money.[8] She appeared in 14 episodes of the show before her character was eliminated in the infamous "Moldavian wedding massacre" cliffhanger episode in 1985. In 1991, People magazine chose her as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People" in the World.[9]


Having become a Hatha Yoga devotee in her fifties, MacGraw produced a Yoga video with the American Yoga Master Erich Schiffmann, Ali MacGraw Yoga Mind and Body,. This video was a bestseller upon release and was still popular more than a decade later. The video's impact was such that in June 2007 Vanity Fair magazine credited MacGraw for being one of the people responsible for the practice's recent popularity in the United States. In keeping with her interests, MacGraw narrated a documentary, The Fire of Yoga, in 2003.

Other work

MacGraw made her Broadway theatre debut in New York City in 2006 as a dysfunctional matriarch in the drama Festen (The Celebration). She was included in a Seventeen magazine issue for inspiring hairstyles. In 2008, GQ magazine listed her in their "Sexiest 25 Women in Film Ever" edition for her 1972 role in The Getaway.[10]
Animal welfare
In July 2006, MacGraw filmed a public service announcement for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), urging residents to take their pets with them in the event of wildfires.[11] In 2008, she wrote the foreword to the book Pawprints of Katrina[12] by author Cathy Scott and photography by Clay Myers about Best Friends Animal Society and the largest pet rescue in U.S. history.[13] An animal rights advocate throughout her life, she received the Humane Education Award by Animal Protection of New Mexico for speaking out about animal issues.[14]

Personal life

MacGraw acknowledged having had an abortion when she was in her early 20s and the procedure was illegal.[15]

MacGraw's first marriage was to banker Robin Hoen from 1961 to 1962. She married her second husband, film producer Robert Evans, in 1969. Their only child, son Josh Evans, was born on January 16, 1971. The couple divorced in 1972 after MacGraw began an affair with actor Steve McQueen while filming The Getaway. She and McQueen were married in 1973. They divorced in 1978.

MacGraw's autobiography, Moving Pictures (which she now describes as "not well written"), revealed her struggles with alcohol and sex addiction. She was treated for the former at the Betty Ford Center.

Since 1994, she has lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, after "fleeing Malibu" when a house she was renting caught fire and burned down.[16]


Year Title Role Notes
1968 A Lovely Way to Die Melody  
1969 Goodbye, Columbus Brenda Patimkin Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer - Female
Nominated —
BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer
1970 Love Story Jennifer Cavilleri David di Donatello for Best Foreign Actress
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated —
Academy Award for Best Actress
1972 The Getaway Carol McCoy  
1978 Convoy Melissa  
1979 Players Nicole Boucher  
1980 Just Tell Me What You Want Bones Burton  
1983 The Winds of War Natalie Jastrow TV mini-series
1983 China Rose Rose (TV)
1985 Dynasty Lady Ashley Mitchell TV series (14 episodes)
1986 Murder Elite Diane Baker  
1992 Survive the Savage Sea Claire Carpenter TV film
1993 Gunsmoke: The Long Ride Uncle Jane Merkel (TV)
1994 Natural Causes Fran Jakes  
1997 Glam Lynn Travers  
1999 Get Bruce Herself  
2002 The Trail of the Painted Ponies Narrator  
2005 Passion & Poetry: The Ballad of Sam Peckinpah Herself  
2007 Do You Sleep in the Nude? Herself  
  • Made two appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show, once in 1990 and then the farewell season in 2011.


  1. ^ a b "Ali MacGraw Biography (1939-)". Film Reference. Advameg. Retrieved June 9, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Weller, Sheila (March 2010). "Once in Love with Ali". Vanity Fair. p. 5. Archived from the original on 1 March 2011. Retrieved January 23, 2011. "In the original version of this article, Ali MacGraw’s age last April was originally stated as 71. She turned 70 last April. We regret the error."
  3. ^ Kleiner, Dick (1969-04-12). "Ingenue Star Ali Mcgraw Is Selective About Parts". Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
  4. ^ Bykofsky, Stuart D. (1983-02-04). "ALI MACGRAW: A STAR BY CHANCE". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
  5. ^ New York magazine, April 3, 2006, pp. 69–70
  6. ^ "DOMESTIC GROSSES". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  7. ^ Yahoo[dead link]
  8. ^ Ali McGraw Reflects on Her Career in Front of the Camera
  9. ^ People magazine, "Beautiful Through the Years," May 12, 1997
  10. ^ "GQ magazine names the sexiest 25 women in film ever". Boxwish. Retrieved 2009-06-09.
  11. ^ "PETA Offers Southern California Residents Urgent Information for Safeguarding Animals During Evacuations". People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Retrieved 2009-06-09.
  12. ^ "PAWPRINTS OF KATRINA tells stories of animal recuse in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina". 2008-07-28. Retrieved 2009-06-09.
  13. ^ "Pawprints of Katrina: Pets Saved and Lessons Learned". Retrieved 2009-06-09.
  14. ^ "Animal Protection of New Mexico, Inc.". Retrieved 2009-06-09.
  15. ^ By Ali MacGraw (1985-08-05). "When Abortion Was Illegal - Personal Tragedy, Coping and Overcoming Illness". People. Retrieved 2009-06-09.
  16. ^ "Ali MacGraw, Defining Beauty". CBS News. 2007-12-05.

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