Ryan O’Neal, star of ‘Love Story’ and ‘Peyton Place,’ dead

Ryan O’Neal, star of ‘Love Story’ and ‘Peyton Place,’ dead
  • PublishedDecember 9, 2023

Oscar-nominated actor Ryan O’Neal, star of several landmark films including “Love Story” and “Paper Moon,” has died, according to his son, Patrick, who posted the news to social media. He was reportedly 82.

“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 wrote on Friday.

He added: “My father Ryan O’Neal has always been my hero. I looked up to him and he was always bigger than life.”

CNN has reached out to a representative for Ryan O’Neal.

Ryan O’Neal’s breakout role came in 1964 on the nighttime soap opera “Peyton Place.”

A Hollywood “Love Story”

After starring in several TV shows throughout the 1960s, O’Neal made an indelible mark on the movies in the 1970 adaptation of the Erich Segal novel “Love Story,” in which he starred opposite Ali MacGraw. The tearjerker film told the story of a wealthy Ivy Leaguer (Ryan O’Neal) who marries an outspoken and irreverent girl (MacGraw), only to watch her die of a terminal illness. Among other things, it popularized the line, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

The film was a huge hit, providing a major boost to Paramount Pictures (which was being run by MacGraw’s then-husband, Robert Evans), and while it established Ryan O’Neal as a classic leading man – and earned him an Oscar nomination in the process – he also found success in comedy, playing opposite Barbra Streisand in “What’s Up, Doc?” and “The Main Event.”

On X (formerly Twitter), Streisand said she was “sad” to hear the news of the actor’s death.

“He was funny and charming, and he will be remembered,” she wrote.

Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw in “Love Story” (1970).Paramount Pictures/IMDB

Ryan O’Neal later starred in a “Love Story” sequel called “Oliver’s Story,” which flopped at the box office.

The actor’s eclectic resume included starring with his daughter, Tatum O’Neal, in “Paper Moon,” for which she won an Academy Award for best supporting actress; and the Stanley Kubrick-directed period piece “Barry Lyndon.”

Off screen, O’Neal had a long relationship with actress and pin-up model Farrah Fawcett, which provided endless fodder for the tabloids. The relationship followed earlier marriages to actresses Joanna Moore and Leigh Taylor-Young.

Born in Los Angeles, O’Neal trained to become a professional boxer before he began to pursue acting, appearing in several TV westerns, and eventually landing his regular role on “Peyton Place.”

O’Neal’s more recent credits included recurring roles on the TV shows “Bones” and “Bull,” along with appearances on “Desperate Housewives” and the reboot “90210.”

Strained relationship

Ryan O’Neal and his daughter Tatum O’Neal’s off-screen relationship was strained for many years.

She had struggled with addiction, and in 2011, the father and daughter starred in the reality series “Ryan and Tatum: The O’Neals” on OWN.

A clip of that show was featured that year during a Tatum O’Neal appearance on CNN.

“How would I feel if my father were to, say, get sick or die even? Would I be OK? And I realized that I wouldn’t be OK,” she said in the clip. “So I knew I needed to make an effort, because what is your life without your family? What’s your life without a father?”

In 2020, Tatum O’Neal’s son shared on social media that the family had reconciled.

The actor had four children. In addition to Tatum O’Neal, he had a son, Griffin O’Neal, with Moore. He also had a son, Redmond James O’Neal, with Fawcett. Patrick O’Neal, a sportscaster, was from his marriage with Taylor-Young.

His brother, actor Kevin O’Neal, died earlier this year.


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