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Actor Ryan O’Neal Dead At 82

Actor Ryan O’Neal, who was one of the biggest box office stars of the early 1970s, has died at the age of 82.

O’Neal’s death was announced on Instagram by his son, Patrick O’Neal. Although no cause of death was revealed in the post, the Associated Post noted that the actor was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012, and chronic leukemia a decade earlier.

Patrick O’Neal’s social media tribute focused on his dad’s legacy, both personal and professional, saying the actor “has always been my hero” and “was always bigger than life.”

Patrick O’Neal also called his dad “a Hollywood legend. Full stop” and claimed that the popularity of Ryan as a first name “can be traced back to my dad. That’s a fact.”

Born in 1941, O’Neal was the son of screenwriter Charles O’Neal and actor Patricia Callaghan O’Neal.

Before becoming a performer, O’Neal worked as a lifeguard and an amateur boxer, before attempting an acting career in the late 1950s.

O’Neal had small roles in TV shows like “The Untouchables,” “Leave It To Beaver,” and “My Three Sons,” before getting his big break on the ABC prime-time soap “Peyton Place,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.

During his time on the show, he divorced his first wife, Joanna Moore, the mother of his daughter, Tatum and son, Griffin, and married co-star Leigh Taylor-Young, Patrick’s mother.

O’Neal’s star really rose in 1970, after the release of “Love Story,” a blockbuster that also earned him and co-star Ali McGraw Academy Award nominations for Best Actor and Actress.

O’Neal went on to star in other critically-acclaimed hits like “What’s Up, Doc?” Stanley Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon,” and “Paper Moon,” in which he played opposite his daughter, Tatum, who won the Best Supporting Oscar for her performance.

In the meantime, his personal life included relationships with classic beauties like“, Barbra Streisand, Joan Collins and Diana Ross, before he settled down with longtime love, Farrah Fawcett, the mother of his youngest son, Redmond James Fawcett O’Neal.

During the 21st century, O’Neal was most familiar to modern audiences through a recurring role on the Fox crime drama, “Bones.”

O’Neal’s personal relationships could be volatile. He and Fawcett broke up for a period only to reunite in the 2000s, and he and Tatum drifted apart as she got older, according to the Associated Press.

He lamented in his 2012 book about Fawcett, “Both Of Us,” that his daughter informed him of her wedding to tennis great John McEnroe by telegram.

“A door inside me locked the morning the telegram came, and I am still blindly searching for the key to open it,” he wrote.

In addition, in 2008 O’Neal was arrested for methamphetamine possession that was found at his Malibu home during a probation check on his son, Redmond.

Though he publicly denied the drugs were his, he pleaded guilty to the charges and entered a drug diversion program.

O’Neal’s inspired various tributes on X, formerly known as Twitter, including his former co-star, Barbra Streisand.


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