Iconic Actor Ryan O’Neal, Beloved for ‘Love Story’ and ‘Barry Lyndon,’ Passes Away at the Age of 82

Ryan O’Neal, star of ‘Love Story,’ ‘Paper Moon,’ ‘Peyton Place’ and ‘Barry Lyndon,’ dies at 82

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ryan O’Neal, the beloved actor who transitioned from a TV soap opera to an Oscar-nominated role in “Love Story” and showcased his wit alongside his charismatic 9-year-old daughter Tatum in “Paper Moon,” passed away on Friday, as announced by his son.

“My dad passed away peacefully today, with his loving team by his side supporting him and loving him as he would us,” Patrick O’Neal, a Los Angeles sportscaster, shared on Instagram.

No cause of death was provided. Ryan O’Neal, diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012, a decade after his initial chronic leukemia diagnosis, was 82.

“My father, Ryan O’Neal, has always been my hero,” Patrick O’Neal stated, adding, “He is a Hollywood legend. Full stop.”

“He meant the world to me. I loved him very much, and I know he loved me too,” Tatum O’Neal expressed to People magazine in a statement. “I’ll miss him forever, and I feel very lucky that we ended on such good terms.”

In the 1970s, Ryan O’Neal stood among the biggest movie stars globally, collaborating with celebrated directors like Peter Bogdanovich on “Paper Moon” and “What’s Up, Doc?” and Stanley Kubrick on “Barry Lyndon.” He often utilized his boyish, blond good looks to portray characters concealing shadowy backgrounds behind clean-cut images.

O’Neal sustained a television acting career into his 70s in the 2010s, with appearances on “Bones” and “Desperate Housewives,” but his enduring relationship with Farrah Fawcett and tumultuous family life kept him in the public eye.

Twice divorced, O’Neal was romantically involved with Fawcett for nearly 30 years, resulting in a son, Redmond, born in 1985. The couple separated in 1997 but reunited a few years later. O’Neal remained by Fawcett’s side during her battle with cancer, which claimed her life in 2009 at age 62.

With his first wife, Joanna Moore, O’Neal had actors Griffin O’Neal and Tatum O’Neal, his co-star in the 1973 movie “Paper Moon,” where she won an Oscar for best supporting actress. He had son Patrick with his second wife, Leigh Taylor-Young.

O’Neal received a best actor Oscar nomination for the 1970 tear-jerker drama “Love Story,” co-starring Ali MacGraw. The movie depicted a young couple who fall in love, marry, and discover she is dying of cancer, featuring the memorable line: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

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O’Neal’s relationships with three of his children were at times strained, overshadowing his later career. His attempts to reconcile with Tatum O’Neal were documented in a short-lived reality series.

O’Neal began his career with bit parts and stunt work before securing a lead role on the prime-time soap opera “Peyton Place” (1964-69). He then transitioned to the big screen with 1969’s “The Big Bounce” and became a movie star with the success of “Love Story.”

After “Love Story,” O’Neal was considered for various leading roles, even being pushed for the role of Michael Corleone in “The Godfather,” which eventually went to Al Pacino. He collaborated with Bogdanovich in “What’s Up, Doc?” and the Depression-era comedy “Paper Moon,” where his daughter Tatum made history as the youngest person to win a competitive Academy Award at the age of 10.

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O’Neal’s later career included notable films like Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon” and collaborations with Barbra Streisand in “What’s Up, Doc?” and “The Main Event.” However, challenges in his personal life, including his son Griffin’s legal troubles, contributed to a decline in his Hollywood status in the 1980s.

Despite facing setbacks, O’Neal continued his career with supporting roles in films like “Faithful” (1996) and “Zero Effect” (1998). His relationship with Fawcett ended, but they remained close, eventually rekindling their romance in the 2000s. The O’Neal family’s volatility continued, leading to arrests and legal issues.

Charles Patrick Ryan O’Neal, born on April 20, 1941, was the son of screenwriter Charles O’Neal and actor Patricia Callaghan O’Neal. Before finding success as a performer, O’Neal worked as a lifeguard and amateur boxer.

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