Ali MacGraw: Young 'Love Story' Beauty, Then And Now

By | August 21, 2019

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Ali MacGraw in a fashion photo shoot for Glamour magazine, 1967. Photo by Sante Forlano/Condé Nast via Getty Images

Ali MacGraw, co-star of Love Story (1970) and The Getaway (1972), epitomized early-'70s glamour and star quality. A New York brunette from an artistic family, MacGraw was the sophisticated fashion icon and sweetheart America craved as the cultural bonfire of the late '60s was still burning. “She exemplified this great American style,” designer Calvin Klein told Vanity Fair. “In the beginning, there was that rich-hippie period. But it went beyond that, and her style put her among the greats: Katharine Hepburn, Jackie Onassis, C. Z. Guest, Babe Paley.”

Producer and former husband Robert Evans added:

Every girl in America wanted to be Ali. ... The 10 top box-office names of 1971 were nine men and one woman, and that woman was Ali.”

Interestingly enough, MacGraw became a movie and style icon despite only having acted in a handful of successful films. She hasn't appeared in a movie since 1997. And yet, just about everyone who lived through the '70s knows her name, her work, and her persona.

Ali MacGraw's Life Before Acting

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Left: MacGraw on the cover of Vogue in 1970. Right: Ali MacGraw modeling a bikini in an undated photo. Sources: eBay; Reddit

Ali MacGraw did not originally intend to become an actress. Born on April 1, 1939, she graduated from Wellesley and married Robin Hoen, her college sweetheart, in 1961. This marriage, her first, only lasted a year and a half.

MacGraw’s career took some interesting turns. She started out as an assistant to the fashion columnist and editor Diana Vreeland at Harper’s Bazaar when she was 22. Around that time, she also worked as a photographer’s stylist for Vogue; while working for Vogue, they were impressed by her fresh-faced beauty and her next career, as a model, began. When she modeled for Chanel No. 5, she was noticed by an agent who suggested a career in acting. With no acting background, she followed this advice and began appearing in television commercials.