Hearthrob Ryan O’Neal’s home life was no Love Story | Obituaries | News

December 16, 2023
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The commercial success of the film about star-crossed lovers should have established the actor as one of Hollywood‘s leading men. But despite his Oscar nomination, O’Neal never replicated his on-screen magic with follow-up roles.

In the 1972 screwball comedy What’s Up, Doc? he played a distracted musicologist who falls for Barbra Streisand’s quirky researcher.

This was followed by Paper Moon in which O’Neal’s precocious daughter Tatum outshone him as a cigarette-smoking orphan.

As he drifted into drinks and drugs, the star became known for his violent behaviour and turbulent love life. He had a son, Redmond, with long-term girlfriend Farrah Fawcett.

After they divorced in 1974 he had affairs with stars including Angelica Huston, Joan Collins and Diana Ross.

Charles Patrick Ryan O’Neal was born in Los Angeles to Charles “Blackie” O’Neal, a screenwriter and novelist, and actress Patricia O’Callaghan. From an early age, his temper landed him in fights and outside of his education at Los Angeles University High School, he became an amateur boxer.

When his parents found work on Tales Of The Vikings – a television series filmed in Germany – they brought O’Neal along and he got his first screen part as a stuntman.

Back home, he signed on to US soap Peyton Place for 501 episodes between 1964 and 1969.

The heartthrob’s acting never stretched far from his own character and physicality, although he did possess comedic ability

He claimed his best performance was playing an 18th-century golddigger in Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 drama Barry Lyndon.

In 1963, O’Neal married actress Joanna Moore, with whom he had Tatum and a son, Griffin. They divorced in 1967.

In Tatum’s 2004 memoir A Paper Life she claimed that her father introduced her to drugs and was neglectful towards her and her brother. They were estranged for two decades but reconciled in 2011.

O’Neal had another son, Patrick, with Leigh Taylor-Young. He said: “My father was as generous as they come. And the funniest person in any room. And the most handsome, but also the most charming.”

The actor was diagnosed with chronic leukaemia in 2001 and with prostate cancer in 2012.

He died after suffering a series of illnesses over the past few years.



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