Ryan O’Neal, the US actor whose boyish good looks and Oscar-nominated turn in Love Story turned him into an international heartthrob, has died. He was 82.
The actor’s son and sportscaster Patrick O’Neal announced the news on Instagram. O’Neal had various forms of cancer since 2001.
Born on April 20 1941 in Los Angeles to author-screenwriter Charles O’Neal and actress mother Patricia Callaghan, O’Neal was a competitive young boxer and the family moved around, living in the UK, Germany, Mexico, and the West Indies.
After working as a stuntman O’Neal played Rodney Harrington on ABC’s 1960s soap Peyton Place, kickstarting his career.
After that he landed the role of a Harvard law student opposite Ali MacGraw playing a women with terminal illness in the 1970 romance Love Story, which garnered an Academy Award nomination and would become the hit of his career.
There were further high-profile roles in Peter Bogdanovic’s 1972 romantic comedy What’s Up, Doc? with Barbra Streisand, the 1973 caper Paper Moon, and Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 historical drama Barry Lyndon.
O’Neal starred in Paper Moon opposite his daughter Tatum O’Neal and it has been said her Oscar win at the age of 10 was a source of jealousy.
He would become estranged from several of his children; nonetheless he enjoyed life, and earned a reputation as a playboy.
He was married and divorced to Joanna Moore and Leigh Taylor-Young, and famously embarked on a long affair with Farrah Fawcett while she was married to Lee Majors. O’Neal and Fawcett split up, reuniting some years later when Fawcett was ill with cancer. O’Neal remained with her until her death in 2009.
O’Neal is survived by his children Tatum, Griffin, Redmond, and Patrick.