Saturday, February 24, 2024

Ryan O’Neal dies at 82: The Paper Moon and Love Story actor who was with Farrah Fawcett for decades looked frail in a wheelchair in final images taken one month before his shock passing

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Hollywood actor Ryan O’Neal has died at the age of 82.

His son Patrick shared the sad news on social media on Friday afternoon. ‘So this is the toughest thing I’ve ever had to say but here we go,’ he began.

‘My dad passed away peacefully today, with his loving team by his side supporting him and loving him as he would us.’

O’Neal was last seen being aided into his vehicle from a wheelchair by helper in Brentwood, California on November 6, 2023. 

Ryan was wheeled down the sidewalk and had two caretakers that aided him into the front seat of his car, lifting him from under his arm. 

O’Neal was best known for his movies in the 1970s which included Paper Moon, which he starred in with his daughter Tatum O’Neal.

He also worked with some of the top female stars of his day such as Barbra Streisand on What’s Up, Doc, and also The Main Event, and Marisa Berenson on Barry Lyndon.

Ryan was nominated in 1970 for a Best Actor Oscar for his blockbuster film Love Story with Ali MacGraw.

Hollywood actor Ryan O’Neal has died at the age of 82. His son Patrick shared the sad news on social media on Friday afternoon; seen in 2000

His son Patrick shared the sad news on social media on Friday afternoon. 'So this is the toughest thing I’ve ever had to say but here we go,' he began. 'My dad passed away peacefully today, with his loving team by his side supporting him and loving him as he would us'

His son Patrick shared the sad news on social media on Friday afternoon. ‘So this is the toughest thing I’ve ever had to say but here we go,’ he began. ‘My dad passed away peacefully today, with his loving team by his side supporting him and loving him as he would us’

O'Neal was last seen being aided into his vehicle from a wheelchair by helper in Brentwood, California on November 6, 2023

O’Neal was last seen being aided into his vehicle from a wheelchair by helper in Brentwood, California on November 6, 2023

Ryan was wheeled down the sidewalk and had two caretakers that aided him into the front seat of his car, lifting him from under his arm

Ryan was wheeled down the sidewalk and had two caretakers that aided him into the front seat of his car, lifting him from under his arm

The star looked slender as he wore sunglasses and a green T-shirt

The star looked slender as he wore sunglasses and a green T-shirt

Ryan was also known for his high-profile relationship to Charlie’s Angels actress Farrah Fawcett which lasted decades; they never wed.

The two were partners from 1979 to 1997 after he stole the bubbly blonde beauty away from her husband, Lee Majors of The Six Million Dollar Man fame.

Together they had a son named Redmond, 38, who had trouble with the law, even serving time in jail. 

O’Neal was jailed in 2009 after he was found in possession of heroin during a routine security check at the Pitchess Detention Center, California. He was behind bars when his mother died from cancer in June, 2009.

Redmond has acted in the films Love Don’t Cost a Thing (2003), The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars (1998) and Johnny Bravo (1997) but is not often seen these days.

O’Neal also romanced Ursula Andress, Bianca Jagger, Jacqueline Bisset, Streisand, Joan Collins and Diana Ross.

Ryan is survived by four children: O’Neal has four children: Tatum O’Neal and Griffin O’Neal with Joanna Moore, Patrick O’Neal with Leigh Taylor-Young, and Redmond James Fawcett O’Neal with Fawcett.

And the star has five grandchildren.

His son posted a lengthy note with the photo of a sunset at the beach.

‘This is very difficult for my wife Summer and I, but I will share some feelings to give you an idea of how great a man he is.,’ he wrote.

‘My father Ryan O’Neal has always been my hero. I looked up to him and he was always bigger than life. When I was born in 1967 my dad was already a TV star on Peyton Place. 

Ryan was nominated in 1970 for a Best Actor Oscar for his blockbuster film Love Story with Ali MacGraw.

Ryan was nominated in 1970 for a Best Actor Oscar for his blockbuster film Love Story with Ali MacGraw.

The film was a massive hit thanks to the chemistry between Ryan and Ali

The film was a massive hit thanks to the chemistry between Ryan and Ali

He also worked with some of the top female stars of the day like Barbra Streisand on What's Up, Doc (seen here in 1972), and The Main Event

He also worked with some of the top female stars of the day like Barbra Streisand on What’s Up, Doc (seen here in 1972), and The Main Event

‘That’s where he met my mom Leigh Taylor-Young, and about 9 months later (give or take a date night or two) I was born. 

‘My dad became an international movie star with Love Story at the beginning of the 1970’s, a decade he absolutely crushed by starring in movies like What’s Up, Doc?, Paper Moon, Barry Lyndon, A Bridge Too Far, The Main Event, and The Driver.

‘He is a Hollywood legend. Full stop. The growth spurt of the first name Ryan can be traced back to my dad. That’s a fact.

‘He was Rodney Harrington on Peyton Place 3 days a week (he starred in 500 shows over 5 years) and then of course the name Ryan peaked after Love Story (the film that saved Paramount Studios and earned my dad a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame).’

Ryan was also known for his high-profile relationship to Charlie's Angels actress Farrah Fawcett which lasted decades; they never wed. The two were partners from 1979 to 1997. Seen in 2004

Ryan was also known for his high-profile relationship to Charlie’s Angels actress Farrah Fawcett which lasted decades; they never wed. The two were partners from 1979 to 1997. Seen in 2004

They were the power couple of their day; seen in NYC in 1983

They were the power couple of their day; seen in NYC in 1983

Together they had a son named Redmond, 38, who had trouble with the law, even serving time in jail. O'Neal was jailed in 2009 after he was found in possession of heroin during a routine security check at the Pitchess Detention Center, California. He was behind bars when his mother died from cancer in June, 2009

Together they had a son named Redmond, 38, who had trouble with the law, even serving time in jail. O’Neal was jailed in 2009 after he was found in possession of heroin during a routine security check at the Pitchess Detention Center, California. He was behind bars when his mother died from cancer in June, 2009

O'Neal attends the Farrah Fawcett 5th Anniversary Reception at the Farrah Fawcett Foundation on June 25, 2014 in Beverly Hills

O’Neal attends the Farrah Fawcett 5th Anniversary Reception at the Farrah Fawcett Foundation on June 25, 2014 in Beverly Hills

Ryan was born in Los Angeles and began acting in the 1960s.

He did guest roles on TV shows such as Bachelor Father, My Three Sons and Leave It To Beaver.

He then landed his big breakthrough role on the soapy nightimeTV series Peyton Place as he played small town hot stuff Rodney Harrington. 

Soon after Hollywood snapped him up for film roles, as he had the looks and charisma to carry a movie.

In 1970, he played an Olympic athlete in The Games. 

He was then recommended for the lead in the romantic drama Love Story (1970), which not many had faith in as it was a slow and sad story.

But his chemistry with Ali was so strong that fans went wild for the sob story about two Harvard students in love: a spoiled rich kid who hates his father and his smart girlfriend who comes from a working-class family.

‘I hope the young people like it,’ O’Neal said before the film came out. ‘I don’t want to go back to TV.’

O'Neal played Rodney Harrington on the 1964 series Peyton Place

O’Neal played Rodney Harrington on the 1964 series Peyton Place

He had 70s hunk status in spades; O'Neal photographed in California in October 1974

He had 70s hunk status in spades; O’Neal photographed in California in October 1974

He was next in the TV movie  Love Hate Love (1971), then the Western Wild Rovers (1971) with William Holden.

His next hit was the comedy What’s Up, Doc? (1972) opposite Streisand. He played the stiff, uptight man to her wacky, outspoken drifter. They had a romance in real life too.

Later O’Neal played a jewel thief in The Thief Who Came to Dinner (1972) opposite Jacqueline Bisset and Warren Oates. 

Then he was reunited with Bogdanovich for Paper Moon (1973) in which he starred opposite his daughter Tatum O’Neal. 

His performance in the film earned him a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, and he was voted by exhibitors as the second-most-popular star of 1973 in the country.

O’Neal spent over a year making Barry Lyndon (1975) for Kubrick but the costume drama was not well received.

Next was the comedy Nickelodeon (1976) with Burt Reynolds and Tatum O’Neal. It was a bomb.

In the 1973 film Paper Moon Ryan co-starred with his daughter Tatum O'Neal

In the 1973 film Paper Moon Ryan co-starred with his daughter Tatum O’Neal 

When they promoted the film together, she seemed to steal the spotlight; seen in 1973

When they promoted the film together, she seemed to steal the spotlight; seen in 1973

They worked hard to mend their relationship; seen in 2011 in Palm Springs

They worked hard to mend their relationship; seen in 2011 in Palm Springs 

O’Neal followed this with the big ensemble movie A Bridge Too Far (1977), playing General James Gavin. It was another dud for the box-office king.

An action film was next, The Driver (1978) but it didn’t have wheels.

His reputation as a massive film star who could sell movie tickets was starting to strain. 

More flops followed, however, like Green Ice in 1981 and Circle Of Two, which he would later say he did for the money.

In 1989 he had a mild hit with Chances Are.

He turned to TV with Farrah as they costarred in Good Sports in 1991. Fans were hoping for chemistry and sizzle, but it was DOA.

Next came a string of bad movies like Malibu’s Most Wanted (2003) and the Alicia Silverstone TV series Miss Match, also in 2003.

His next highlight was in 2016, when reunited with Love Story co-star MacGraw in a staging of A.R. Gurney’s play Love Letters.

His love life made headlines for decades as he had a penchant for pretty ladies with their own fame.

O’Neal married his first wife, actress Joanna Moore, in 1963.

They had two children before separating in 1966. 

Moore lost custody of their children to O’Neal as a result of her alcoholism and drug addiction.

His second marriage was to actress Leigh Taylor-Young, with whom he had a son and divorced in 1974.

Then came beauty Fawcett, which was the scandal of its day as fans loved her with Majors. Eventually, he cheated and they fought, however.  Fawcett broke up with him after she found O’Neal in bed with actress Leslie Stefanson. But they got back together 2001 and spent time together before her death in 2009.

He also dated Anjelica Huston. She would accuse him in her tell-all book of abusing her.

According to his daughter Tatum O’Neal, he also had an affair with Melanie Griffith.

O’Neal has four children: Tatum O’Neal and Griffin O’Neal with Moore, Patrick O’Neal with Taylor-Young, and Redmond James Fawcett O’Neal with Fawcett.

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