Hollywood star Ryan O’Neal, who led a stormy life, dies at the age of 82

Photo of author

By journalsofus.com

Ryan O’Neal, the boyishly handsome and athletic star of 1970s movies — notably as a millionaire Harvard law student in “Love Story” and a Depression-era swindler in “Paper Moon” — but Whose erratic talent and stormy personal life ruined his promise, died on December 8 at the age of 82.

His death was announced on Instagram by his son Patrick, who did not provide details. Mr. O’Neill was diagnosed with leukemia in 2001, but reportedly recovered from it. His subsequent health problems, including prostate cancer, became news updates in the tabloids, where he had long been a familiar presence for his playboy lifestyle, fiery temper, and indulgence in drugs and alcohol.

His excesses had blighted his acting career for a long time. He embraced his reputation as a ladies’ man, courting numerous models and actresses, but he is perhaps best remembered as the longtime partner of pinup and “Charlie’s Angels” star Farrah Fawcett, who died in 2009 at the age of 62. Died of cancer at age.

Their 19-year relationship ended suddenly when she caught Mr O’Neill in bed with a young actress in 1997. But he returned to her a few years later and was a constant presence with Fawcett during his illness. Yet he told Vanity Fair that, whether out of grief or out of instinct, he acted as an assistant to Fawcett when she passed on his estranged daughter Tatum, whom he met with an attractive Swedish woman. Had understood.

In interviews, Mr. O’Neal agreed with the assessment that he was one of the worst parents in Hollywood. He described himself as a “disappointing father” and a “crash” in a 2009 Vanity Fair profile. Many of his children were struggling with drug addiction. His daughter Tatum has written a memoir describing years of physical and emotional abuse as her father’s star waned and drug abuse increased.

Tatum O’Neal wrote, he promoted the acting careers of some of his children, but could be devastatingly jealous when they became successful. Mr. O’Neal admitted that when Tatum won an Academy Award at age 10 for his performance in “Paper Moon” (1973) it caused a lot of tension in his family. She played a con artist who may be the illegitimate daughter of Mr. Ryan’s character, Moses Pray.

By all accounts, Tatum succeeded his father in the role. In Time magazine, critic Jay Cox wrote that the mustache and flared pinstripe suit could not hide the fact that Mr. O’Neal “still looks like the Surfer King.”

It was exactly that look – wavy blonde hair, blue eyes and a lithe boxer’s physique – that propelled Mr. O’Neill briefly to the front lines of Hollywood stardom after an aimless youth. He was a lifeguard, an amateur boxer and a TV stuntman before rising to fame playing spoiled young Rodney Harrington on ABC’s nighttime soap opera “Peyton Place.”

The show, based on Grace Metalious’s explosive novel set in a New England village, aired from 1964 to 1969 and gained Mr. O’Neill recognition as a promising young star; Cast member Mia Farrow was also singled out for future success.

Shortly after the series ended, Mr. O’Neill received his most enduring role as Oliver Barrett IV in “Love Story” (1970). The film was based on Erich Segal’s novel about a Harvard Law student who gives up his fortune to marry a working-class Italian girl (Ali McGraw), but watches her die of a blood disease.

Mr. O’Neill — with the thankless task of reciting lines like “Love means you never have to say sorry” — was nominated for an Oscar, but lost to George C. Scott in “Patton.”

Despite reviews noting its consistently dumb premise, “Love Story” was a commercial hit. Mr. O’Neill, who never took any acting training, was indifferent about his performance.

After making “Love Story,” he told The New York Times, “I wasn’t too concerned about whether I was adequately preparing for the role.” “I am not much interested in studies and research. I just thought of it as a story about a man and a woman, and I made sure I got it right. You know, the right scarf, the right sweater.

Mr. O’Neill followed with comic capers, directed by Peter Bogdanovich: “What’s Up, Doc?” (1972) co-starring Barbra Streisand, followed by “Paper Moon” and “Nickelodeon” (1976) with Burt Reynolds. No one copied the popularity of “Love Story”.

Particularly damaging to Mr. O’Neill’s career was “Barry Lyndon” (1975), a costume drama directed by Stanley Kubrick and based on the novel by William Makepeace Thackeray. Beautifully shot, it nevertheless tested the audience’s patience and flopped miserably, running for over three hours. Critics’ opinions on the eccentric casting of Mr. O’Neill as an 18th-century Irish fortune-seeker were mixed, although the film has since been evaluated favourably.

His subsequent work remained lackluster, including the boxing comedy “The Main Event” (1979) with Streisand and the “Love Story” sequel “Oliver’s Story” (1978) with his romantic interest Candice Bergen. Mr. O’Neill was mistaken for a brigadier. General James Gavin in the World War II all-star drama “A Bridge Too Far” (1977), a film he publicly condemned.

Talent agent Sue Mengers told Vanity Fair in 2009, “It was hard to cast Ryan – he was so handsome – and I think a lot of men were jealous of him.” “Ryan was very cocky, self-confident, very masculine and very handsome, and every beautiful girl in the world went out with him. This did not make him popular among his male contemporaries; he could never make friends with the people who were doing things at the time. Were at the center of.

Charles Patrick Ryan O’Neal was born on April 20, 1941 in Los Angeles. Her father, also named Charles, wrote for film and television and her mother, Patricia, was an occasional actress. The family moved to Mexico, the British West Indies, England, and Germany.

From his travels, Ryan O’Neal said he has developed a sense of entitlement and a reputation for cruelty. “I knew life was a joyous time,” he told the Times in 1971. “And I think part of the fun, was having a lot of fights.”

He participated in the Golden Gloves boxing championships in Los Angeles in 1956 and 1957 and later invested in boxers. His interest in fighting led to his semi-friendship with writer Norman Mailer, who chose him as the star of his 1987 film noir “Tough Guys Don’t Dance”.

After his decline in the 1970s, Mr. O’Neal starred in a few comedies, such as “So Fine” (1981), about a man who begins a trend toward backless jeans, and serious satirical satire from “An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn” (1997). In recent years, Mr. O’Neill has repeatedly appeared in TV shows, including the Fox series “Bones” and such films as “Slumber Party Slaughter” (2012). Had a role.

Despite his fading star, Mr. O’Neill did not want flashy company. Married and divorced actresses Joanna Moore and Leigh Taylor-Young. He was romantically linked to Streisand, Diana Ross, Ursula Andress, and Bianca Jagger. Her affair with Fawcett began while she was married to her racquetball partner, “The Six Million Dollar Man” actor Lee Majors.

Information about survivors was not immediately available. Mr. O’Neal had two children from his first marriage, Tatum and Griffin O’Neal; a son by her second, sports broadcaster Patrick O’Neill; A son from his relationship with Fawcett, Redmond, who was charged with attempted murder following a series of random attacks in 2018, but was reportedly found incompetent to stand trial during a mental evaluation; And a brother.

Ryan O’Neal served time in prison in 1960 when he attacked a stranger at a New Year’s Eve party. His wild behavior continued to attract attention. In 2007, he fired a gun during an argument with his son Griffin. In 2009, Mr. O’Neill was convicted of drug possession after police found methamphetamine at his home in Malibu, California.

“Look, I don’t give myself time off,” he told columnist Cindy Adams in 2012 while promoting a book about his life with Fawcett. “I had four children. Only sportscaster Patrick is okay. Griffin is in jail. Redmond, who feels terrible guilt, is in rehab. Tatum, Rehab. I had my own problems. Is this all my fault? Yes, I think so.”

Leave a comment