Ryan O’Neal, the Oscar-nominated US actor known for his roles in Love Story, What's Up, Doc? and Paper Moon, has died aged 82.
His son Patrick O’Neal, a sportscaster with Bally Sports West, announced on Instagram that his father had been diagnosed with chronic leukemia in 2001 and with prostate cancer in 2012.
“As a human being, my father was as generous as they come,” Patrick wrote. “And the funniest person in any room. And the most handsome clearly, but also the most charming. Lethal combo.
“He loved to make people laugh. It’s pretty much his goal. Didn’t matter the situation, if there was a joke to be found, he nailed it. He really wanted us laughing. And we did all laugh. Every time. We had fun. Fun in the sun.”
Ryan O’Neal was born in Los Angeles in 1941, and came to prominence in 1964 when he was cast as Rodney Harrington in the hit prime time drama Peyton Place.
The success of the show, which also launched the careers of Mia Farrow and Barbara Parkins, led to O’Neal starting a film career. His first leading role came with 1969’s The Big Bounce, based on the Elmore Leonard novel.
In the Seventies, O’Neal starred in a string of box office hits including 1970’s Love Story, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor.
In 1972, O’Neal starred opposite Barbra Streisand in Peter Bogdanovich’s screwball comedy What’s Up Doc? The film was another major hit at the box office, becoming the third highest-grossing movie of the year.
He reunited with Bogdanovich for 1973’s Paper Moon, in which he starred opposite his 10-year-old daughter Tatum O'Neal. She became the youngest person ever to win an Oscar for her performance, while he earned a Best Actor (Musical or Comedy) nomination at the Golden Globes.
Stanley Kubrick cast O’Neal in the title role of his 1975 period epic Barry Lyndon. A commercial disappointment upon its release, the film has since been critically re-evaluated.
O’Neal was married twice, to Joanna Moore in 1963 and to Leigh Taylor-Young in 1967. He also had a high-profile, on-and-off relationship over 30 years with Charlie’s Angels star Farrah Fawcett that ended with her death in 2009, aged 62.
His final Instagram post, in July this year, featured an article about his support for his broadcaster son Patrick. “Very well written and so true,” wrote O’Neal. “Proud of my boy”.
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