Ryan O' Neal, star of Love Story, dead at 82

December 11, 2023 12:30 pm

The late Ryan O' Neal [Source: 1News]

Ryan O’Neal, the heartthrob actor who went from a TV soap opera to an Oscar-nominated role in Love Story and delivered a wry performance opposite his charismatic 9-year-old daughter Tatum in Paper Moon, died on Friday, his son said.

“My dad passed away peacefully today, with his loving team by his side supporting him and loving him as he would us,” Patrick O’Neal, a Los Angeles sportscaster, posted on Instagram.

Attempts to reach O’Neal representatives were not immediately successful.

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No cause of death was given. Ryan O’Neal was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012, a decade after he was first diagnosed with chronic leukemia. He was 82.

“My father, Ryan O’Neal, has always been my hero,” Patrick O’Neal wrote, adding, “He is a Hollywood legend. Full stop.”

O’Neal was among the biggest movie stars in the world in the 1970s, working across genres with many of the era’s most celebrated directors including Peter Bogdanovich on Paper Moon and What’s Up, Doc? and Stanley Kubrick on Barry Lyndon.

He often used his boyish, blond good looks to play men who hid shadowy or sinister backgrounds behind their clean-cut images.

O’Neal maintained a steady television acting career into his 70s in the 2010s, appearing for stints on Bones and Desperate Housewives, but his long-time relationship with Farrah Fawcett and his tumultuous family life kept him in the news.

Twice divorced, O’Neal was romantically involved with Fawcett for nearly 30 years, and they had a son, Redmond, born in 1985.

The couple split in 1997, but reunited a few years later. He remained by Fawcett’s side as she battled cancer, which killed her in 2009 at age 62.

A probation check on Redmond O’Neal in September 2008 at his father’s Malibu home led to the actor’s arrest for methamphetamine possession. Ryan O’Neal pleaded guilty to the charge and entered a drug diversion program, but he publicly denied the drugs were his. He said he confiscated them from his son and was trying to protect him.

Charles Patrick Ryan O’Neal was born on April 20, 1941, and was the son of screenwriter Charles O’Neal and actor Patricia Callaghan O’Neal.

O’Neal spent time as a lifeguard and an amateur boxer before finding his calling as a performer.