In 1989, John Mahoney played a devoted single father who disapproves of the underachieving teenager (John Cusack) who falls head over heels for his valedictorian daughter Diane (Ione Skye) in the cult hit Say Anything. Here, Skye looks back on her time working with Mahoney, who died Sunday at the age of 77, exclusively for EW.

“I didn’t grow up with a dad. I grew up with a mother, so I knew what it was like to have a single parent and how close you can get. It was special that I got to experience that with John. Although you can tell by watching that he’s a private person, he was so friendly and generous and stayed out of my business. Since I was very new [to Hollywood], [writer-director] Cameron Crowe and John Cusack and producer Polly Platt were really in my business, trying to help me. John [Mahoney] didn’t do that. We just did the scenes and he didn’t interfere, which I really appreciated.

“He was always singing standards. He wasn’t needy and putting his stuff on other people. He could tolerate and contain his own anxiety and process. He was very grateful to come into acting later in life, which is why he didn’t complain. I felt very comfortable with him, which is why our chemistry was good. We didn’t stay in touch. But we did have all these meaningful scenes together. I really value that now since I didn’t have my own father.”

See some of the highlights of Mahoney’s career here.

Say Anything
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