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Ryan O'Neal

Ryan O'Neal
Ryan O'Neal in 1968
Born Charles Patrick Ryan O'Neal[1]
(1941-04-20) April 20, 1941
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Education University High School
Munich American High School
Occupation Actor
Former amateur boxer
Years active 1960–present
Spouse(s) Joanna Moore (m. 1963; div. 1967)
Leigh Taylor-Young (m. 1967; div. 1973)
Partner(s) Farrah Fawcett (1979–97, 2003–09; her death)
Children 4; including Tatum, Griffin and Patrick O'Neal
Parent(s) Charles Eldridge "Blackie" O'Neal
Patricia Ruth Olga (née Callaghan)

Charles Patrick Ryan O'Neal (born April 20, 1941), better known as Ryan O'Neal, is an American television and film actor.

O'Neal trained as an amateur boxer before beginning his career in acting in 1960. In 1964, he landed the role of Rodney Harrington on the ABC nighttime soap opera Peyton Place. The series was an instant hit and boosted O'Neal's career. He later found success in films, most notably Love Story (1970), for which he received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations as Best Actor, What's Up, Doc? (1972), Paper Moon (1973), Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon (1975), and A Bridge Too Far (1977). Since 2007, he has had a recurring role in the TV series Bones.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • TV roles and early work 2.1
    • Feature film success 2.2
    • Later career 2.3
  • Personal life 3
    • Relationships and family 3.1
    • Health 3.2
  • Amateur boxing record 4
  • Awards 5
    • Wins 5.1
    • Nominations 5.2
  • Filmography 6
  • Television 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life

Ryan O'Neal was born in Los Angeles, California, the eldest son of actress Patricia Ruth Olga (née Callaghan; 1907–2003) and novelist/screenwriter Charles O'Neal.[2] His father was of Irish and English descent, while his mother was of paternal Irish and maternal Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.[2][3] His brother, Kevin, is an actor and screenwriter.[4]

Ryan O'Neal attended University High School, and trained there to become a Golden Gloves boxer. During the late 1950s, his father, "Blackie" O'Neal, had a job writing on a television series called Citizen Soldier, and moved the family to Munich, Germany, where Ryan attended Munich American High School.[5]


TV roles and early work

O'Neal appeared in guest roles on series that included The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Leave It to Beaver, Bachelor Father, Westinghouse Playhouse, Perry Mason and Wagon Train. From 1962 to 1963, he was a regular on NBC's Empire, another modern day western, where he played "Tal Garrett".[6] From 1964 to 1969, he was a regular on Peyton Place playing Rodney Harrington, the turbulent love interest of Mia Farrow's Alison Mackenzie, parts which launched both into stardom.

Feature film success

O'Neal's film career took off beginning with his role in Love Story (1970), earning a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actor. In 1973, he was number two in the annual Top Ten Box Office Stars, behind Clint Eastwood.[7]

He starred in a series of films for director Peter Bogdanovich, beginning with the screwball comedy What's Up, Doc? (with Barbra Streisand, 1972); following were Paper Moon (with daughter Tatum O'Neal in an Oscar-winning role, 1973); and Nickelodeon (1976, again with Tatum). Other films of the 1970s included Barry Lyndon (directed by Stanley Kubrick, 1975); A Bridge Too Far (1977); Oliver's Story (1978, a sequel to Love Story); and the car-chase film The Driver (directed by Walter Hill, also 1978).[6]

Later career

His film career faded by the end of the 1970s. His one time agent Sue Mengers later said of the decline:

I never figured it out myself. It was hard to cast Ryan—he was too beautiful—and I think a lot of men were jealous of him. Ryan was very cocky, self-confident, very masculine, and gorgeous, and he had every beautiful girl in the world going out with him. It didn’t make him popular with his male contemporaries; he never became pals with the guys who were in the center of things then.[8]

He starred as a character loosely based on director Bogdanovich in Irreconcilable Differences (1984). He returned to TV in the short-lived CBS series Good Sports (1991, with companion Farrah Fawcett), and as a recurring character on Fox's Bones (2007–present).[6]

In 2011, Ryan and Tatum attempted to restore their broken father/daughter relationship after 25 years. Their reunion and reconciliation process was captured in the Oprah Winfrey Network series, Ryan and Tatum: The O'Neals.[6]

Personal life

Relationships and family

O'Neal was in a long-term relationship with actress Farrah Fawcett until her death in 2009. He was previously married to actresses Joanna Moore and Leigh Taylor-Young; both marriages ended in divorce. He has four children: Tatum O'Neal and Griffin O'Neal (with Moore), Patrick O'Neal (with Taylor-Young) and Redmond James Fawcett O'Neal (born January 30, 1985, Los Angeles)[9] with Fawcett. In her 2014 memoir, Anjelica Huston claimed that O'Neal physically abused her when they were in a relationship.[10]

For several years, Ryan was estranged from his elder three children, Patrick, Griffin, and Tatum.[11] However, in 2011, Tatum reconciled with her father with a book and a television show. On August 4, Ryan, Tatum and Patrick O'Neal appeared on Redmond's court appearance on firearms and drug charges.[12]

Ryan O'Neal has nine grandchildren, three from Tatum’s marriage to tennis player John McEnroe,[13] four from both of Griffin’s marriages,[14] and two from Patrick’s marriage to actress Rebecca De Mornay. He is a great-grandfather by his estranged son, Griffin.[15]


In 2001 he was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).[16] As of 2006, it is in remission.[17] After struggling with leukemia, O'Neal was frequently seen at Fawcett's side when she was battling cancer. He told People magazine, "It's a love story. I just don't know how to play this one. I won't know this world without her. Cancer is an insidious enemy."[18]

In April 2012, O'Neal revealed he had been diagnosed with stage IV prostate cancer. He reported that it had been detected early enough to give a prognosis of full recovery, although some doctors have questioned this prognosis.[19]

Amateur boxing record

Based on various sources.[20]

Amateur boxing record
Result Record Opponent Method Date Round Time Event Location Notes
Win Frankie Lohman KO 1959 1 Munich, Germany
Loss Tony Foramero PTS 1957 3 Golden Gloves Tournament Los Angeles, California
Win Stevie Rouse KO 1957 1 Golden Gloves Tournament (Finals) Los Angeles, California
Win Chuck Newell PTS 1957 3 Golden Gloves Tournament (Semi-Finals) Los Angeles, California
Win Alvin "Allen" Walker KO 1957 1 Los Angeles, California
Win Samuel Roland Foul 1956 1 Hollywood, Florida
Win Leonard Wallace KO 1956 1 Los Angeles, California
Win Eugene Liebert KO 1956 1 Los Angeles, California
Win Felix Morse KO 1956 2 Los Angeles, California
Win George Shay PTS 1956 3 Hollywood, California
Win Edmund Dowe PTS 1956 3 Los Angeles, California
Win Victor Fellsen KO 1956 1 Los Angeles, California
Loss Dal Stewart PTS 1956 3 Los Angeles, California
Loss George Shay PTS 1956 3 Golden Gloves Tournament Los Angeles, California
Win J. Cecil Gray PTS 1956 3 Golden Gloves Tournament Los Angeles, California
Loss J. Cecil Gray PTS 1956 3 Los Angeles, California







  1. ^ Birth Registry,; accessed June 22, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Profile,; accessed June 22, 2014.
  3. ^ IMDb profile; accessed June 22, 2014.
  4. ^ Charles O'Neal profile,; accessed June 22, 2014.
  5. ^ Ryan O'Neal profile,; accessed June 22, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d Ryan O'Neal at the Internet Movie Database
  7. ^ Steinberg, Cobbett (1980). Film Facts. New York: Facts on File, Inc. p. 60.  
  8. ^ Sept 2009Vanity FairLeslie Bennetts, Beautiful People Ugly Choices", accessed 16 Nov 2014
  9. ^ California Births 1905–1995,; accessed June 22, 2014.
  10. ^; accessed November 10, 2014.
  11. ^ Stuever, Hank, "On OWN, ‘Ryan & Tatum's’ paper gloom", Washington Post, June 17, 2011
  12. ^ MacIntyre, April, "Ryan O'Neal and Tatum O'Neal talk Redmond O'Neal", Access Hollywood, August 4, 2011; accessed October 6, 2014.
  13. ^ Phillips, Stone. "Tatum O'Neal Shares Survival Story: Part 2", Dateline NBC, October 15, 2004.
  14. ^ Ninth grandkis
  15. ^ "Rebecca De Morney — about this person". New York Times. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Actor O'Neal Has Cancer".  
  17. ^ Graham, Caroline (October 7, 2006). "Why I Have To Be Strong For Farrah".  
  18. ^ Bryant, Adam (May 7, 2009). """Ryan O'Neal: Watching Farrah Battle Cancer Is Like "Being Stabbed in the Heart.  
  19. ^ Notice of O'Neal's cancer,; accessed June 26, 2014.
  20. ^ Biodata,; accessed October 6, 2014.
  21. ^ "Awards Database".  

External links

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