9th December 2023 – (Los Angeles) Ryan O’Neal, the charismatic Hollywood heartthrob of the 1970s, known for his roles in beloved films such as Love Story, What’s Up, Doc?, and Paper Moon, has died at the age of 82, as confirmed by his son in a heartfelt Instagram post. The exact cause of his death has not been disclosed. O’Neal, who was also renowned for his high-profile relationship with the late actress Farrah Fawcett, had previously revealed his battle with prostate cancer in 2012, expressing optimism about his prognosis at the time.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Ryan O’Neal initially pursued a career in boxing before venturing into the world of acting. His breakthrough came in 1964 when he secured a role in the immensely popular prime-time television soap opera Peyton Place, catapulting him into the spotlight.
However, it was his captivating performance opposite Ali MacGraw in the 1970 romantic drama Love Story that truly cemented his place in cinematic history. The film, based on Erich Segal’s bestselling novel of the same name, garnered critical acclaim and became a box office sensation. O’Neal’s portrayal earned him an Oscar nomination, further solidifying his status as a leading man.
Throughout his career, O’Neal collaborated with renowned talents in the industry. He starred alongside Barbra Streisand in the 1972 screwball comedy What’s Up, Doc?, directed by the esteemed Peter Bogdanovich. The duo reunited for the 1973 hit film Paper Moon, where O’Neal shared the screen with his young daughter, Tatum O’Neal. Tatum’s remarkable debut as a precocious, cigarette-smoking orphan in the Depression-era drama earned her the distinction of becoming the youngest person to win an Academy Award at the age of 10, securing the Best Supporting Actress accolade.
In her 2004 memoir, Tatum O’Neal revealed a tumultuous and strained relationship with her father, alleging years of parental abuse and bouts of jealousy, as well as claiming that he had introduced her to drugs, leading to a 25-year estrangement. Ryan O’Neal disputed these allegations, and over time, the father and daughter managed to reconcile their differences. In 2011, they appeared together in a biographical docuseries titled Ryan and Tatum: The O’Neals, showcasing their journey towards reconciliation.
In a touching tribute on Instagram, Patrick O’Neal, Ryan O’Neal’s half-brother, expressed his grief and admiration for his father, stating that he passed away peacefully with a supportive and loving team by his side. Patrick described his father as his hero, highlighting the profound impact Ryan O’Neal had on his life.