Holywood legends to star in Love Letters at Festival Theatre

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Image via Getty

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THEY’RE Hollywood royalty known the world over, but next October Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal will swap the arc lights and exotic international movie locations for the stage of the Festival Theatre, when they star in the UK Tour of AR Gurney’s Love Letters.

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Following a critically-acclaimed Broadway run and sell-out US Tour, Gurney’s enduring romance about first loves and second chances comes to the Capital as part of a 12-week tour.

The piece tells the story of Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner.

When Ladd wrote his first letter to Gardner to tell her she looked like a lost princess, they were both seven years old.

For the next 50 years, through personal triumphs and despair, through wars and marriages and children and careers, they poured out their heartfelt secrets to each other.

They defied a fate that schemed to keep them apart, and lived for the one most meaningful thing, their undying love for each other.

For McGraw and O’Neal the production is the latest chapter in a working relationship that started in 1970 when O’Neal was given his big break, being chosen from more than 300 hopefuls for the role of Oliver Barrett opposite MacGraw in Arthur Hiller’s adaptation of Erich Segal’s best-seller Love Story.

A role saw him nominated for Best Actor at both the Oscars and Golden Globe Awards.

The play’s producer David Ian, says,”I am absolutely thrilled to be bringing two such huge stars to the UK in this wonderful and moving play. Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal ‎are true Hollywood legends and it will be very special indeed to see them live on stage together”.

New York born MacGraw’s acting career began when she was offered the leading role of Brenda Patamkin in the screen version of Philip Roth’s short novel, Goodbye Columbus.

The movie was an international success. Her other credits include The Getaway with Steve McQueen, Convoy with Kris Kristofferson and the epic TV mini-series The Winds of War, with Robert Mitchum. She also guest-starred on the popular soap Dynasty.

75-year-old O’Neal appeared opposite Barbara Streisand in the 1971 smash hit movie What’s Up Doc and later played a drifter working con games with his daughter (played by real life daughter, Tatum) in the critically acclaimed hit Paper Moon, for which Tatum won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role.

He also starred in Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 historical drama Barry Lyndon; Oliver Story, a sequel to Love Story and the noir hit The Driver. He was reunited with Streisand In 1979 for The Main Event, the same year that he met and fell in love with actress Farrah Fawcett.

O’Neal can currently be seen on the hit Fox crime drama Bones.

Love Letters runs at the Festival Theatre Edinburgh from 2-7 October 2017. Tickets go on sale 4 January 2017.