Ali MacGraw captivated audiences during her first film performance in the 1968 film A Lovely Way to Die. The American actress wasn’t exactly young when she first entered the film industry. Many stars find fame in their teen years or early twenties, but even at 31, Ali MacGraw showed real promise.
Ali MacGraw’s career as an actress in film was rather short-lived compared to many other Hollywood stars, spanning just three decades. She continued to appear in television until 2012, when she decided to leave the acting life behind for good. Even though she is largely remembered for her work as an actress, however, Ali MacGraw has always been so much more than that.
MacGraw has proved that she is a woman of many talents, working as an activist, model, author, and even a fashion designer. She’s dabbled in a lot of other interesting areas, as well, including yoga and interior decorating.
Ali MacGraw has lived her whole life in style, sporting beautiful boho-style clothing that has inspired millions of women. But while she has often appeared to exude confidence with every breath, much of her career was colored by fear and regret. It’s easy to imagine that a celebrity’s life is filled with ease, but deep inside, Ali MacGraw was suffering for a long time.
A lot of Hollywood stars become more confident after appearing on the big screen, but for MacGraw, the opposite was true. Despite having millions of fans all over the globe, this talented star couldn’t seem to overcome her personal struggles. She suffered from addiction and dependency. During the height of her career, nobody could imagine the internal suffering that Ali MacGraw faced on a daily basis.
But at 81 years old, Ali MacGraw has learned a lot about life. Nobody wakes up one day suddenly mature and fully functional. Life is a series of challenges and obstacles, something that many Hollywood stars have succumbed to over the years. Ali MacGraw, however, knew she had two choices; to overcome her problems, or to let them define her life. She could have easily fallen into the pattern of addiction and died young like so many film stars before her, but after years of learning how to cope with her problems, she is much happier today than she has ever been.
In today’s video, we’re going to take a look at all of the personal struggles that plagued Ali MacGraw’s career, as well as how she was able to overcome them. Make sure you stick around, because we’re going to delve deep into the fear she experienced while working as an actress.
A Troubled Childhood
At a first glance, Ali MacGraw’s childhood may appear rosy. She was born on April 1st, 1939 in Pound Ridge, New York. Her parents, Frances and Richard MacGraw, worked as commercial artists. Ali MacGraw was fascinated by art at a young age, but it came with many challenges. Because both her parents worked as artists, her family had very little money. Still, young Ali learned to see the world as an artist does, and she was able to find beauty in the simplest of things.
Unfortunately, her childhood was also filled with fear. While she felt close to her father at times, she admitted that he was also violent. He would severely beat her brother whenever he was upset. Ali MacGraw lived in fear that she would be next, and she spent her childhood walking on eggshells and trying to be perfect in her father’s eyes.
She Was Terrified While Working as an Actress
That fear followed Ali MacGraw to her work as an actress. Unlike many Hollywood film stars, she never studied acting, and when she landed her first big role in the 1969 film Goodbye, Columbus, she was terrified of doing it wrong. She suffered from severe imposter syndrome, the anxiety that she was simply faking it, and that soon, her luck would run out. While MacGraw appeared smooth and confident on film, her heart was always filled with terror.
In one interview, she admitted “I was never trained as an actress. It was frightening for me, every single solitary breathing second… I was never comfortable.” Goodbye, Columbus was only her second film, and yet she earned a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer. Just a year later, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the film Love Story. She also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama. With so many accolades so early in her career, nobody could have guessed the fear she was living with.
Finding Her Place in the World
Before she became an actress, Ali MacGraw struggled to find her place in the world. Her parents taught her to love and appreciate art, so she studied art history at Wellesley College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Secretly, however, she had no clue what she wanted to do. While she deeply appreciated art, her dreams of working with art were more of a fantasy than a concrete plan. Before long, Ali realized that she would have to pave her own path in life.
She dabbled in a few different careers, and she worked as a photographic assistant, a fashion model, and even an interior decorator. She enjoyed it all, but it wasn’t until later that she began acting in television commercials. From there, she would rise quickly to stardom after landing her first film role.
Her Addiction to Men
Ali MacGraw found love for the first time when she met Robin Hoen. She dated this Harvard graduate for five years, and they got married in 1961. It was short lived, however, as the two divorced just a year later. In 1969, she married again, this time to film producer Robert Evans. They had a son named Josh Evans, who went on to become an actor, screenwriter, and producer. Their marriage ended up being just as tumultuous as the last, and the two divorced in 1972, when it was revealed that she was having an affair with legendary actor Steve McQueen. She married McQueen in 1973, but they also divorced after five years.
In one interview, Ali MacGraw admitted that she cheated on every husband she ever married. She explained that she was addicted to men, and constantly tried to compensate for her insecurities through sex and dating. It took many long years to overcome this addiction, but today, she is much happier. Make sure you stick around until the very end of the video, where we’ll explain how Ali MacGraw finally found peace. And if you’re enjoying the video so far, please take a moment to like this video and subscribe to our channel for more!
Her Struggles with Alcoholism
Unfortunately, Ali MacGraw suffered from another form of addiction: Alcoholism. At first, she didn’t think she had a problem. Over time, however, she realized that she had turned to drinking to cope with her unhappiness. By 1986, she finally admitted to herself that she had a problem, and she went to the Betty Ford Clinic for help. There, she was able to talk about her dependency on both alcohol and men. It was an eye-opening experience for her, and she was extremely grateful for the support of everyone within the clinic. Of course, her problems didn’t just vanish on the spot. It would take many years for Ali MacGraw to finally feel confident and at peace with herself.
A Multitude of Mistakes and Regrets
Between her many affairs and her severe drinking problem, Ali MacGraw was filled with self-loathing. She found it hard to accept herself, flaws and all, and spent her whole life trying to be perfect. Instead, this only made her more miserable. Even after she was able to overcome her drinking problem, she was wracked with guilt. Everybody makes mistakes, but Ali MacGraw had a hard time learning how to forgive herself for the choices she made. Years after her career in film was over, MacGraw began to wonder if she had let life pass her by. Thankfully, however, she realized that her life was far from over.
Her Life Outside of Acting
While the world may remember Ali MacGraw as an actor, she is so much more than that. She is a published author as of 1991, when she released her autobiography, Moving Pictures. She is also credited with helping to popularize the practice of yoga in the United States, after she produced a yoga video with Erich Schiffman entitled Ali MacGraw Yoga Mind and Body. She is also an accomplished and outspoken animal rights activist, and is a U.S. Ambassador for the animal welfare charity Animals Asia.
For the longest time, Ali MacGraw didn’t know how to reconcile her mistakes and struggles with the person she had become. As a result, she let herself succumb to self-loathing and pity. As she grew older, however, she realized that there is so much more to life than dwelling on the past. Today, she has found peace by working on projects she finds fulfilling. When she was 78 years old, she collaborated with an artisan brand called Ibu, and created a fashion collection. Now, she’s learned to leave the past behind her, and despite her age, she is only living in the present.
Ali MacGraw’s personal life may have been filled with struggle, but she’s done a lot to overcome her problems. Were you more surprised to learn that she was terrified of acting, or that she struggled with an addiction to men? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more!