American actor Ryan O’Neal died on Friday, December 8, at the age of 82, his son announced. “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to say, but it is what it is. My father passed away peacefully today”, explained Patrick O’Neal on Instagram, without specifying the reason for the death. Ryan O’Neal was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012, a decade after he was first diagnosed with chronic leukemia.
Ryan O’Neal started out playing small roles and performing a few stunts before receiving a lead role in the American soap opera Peyton Place (1964-1969), which also made Mia Farrow a star. Then he made a name for himself in 1970 thanks to love story, a romance where he played a Harvard law student who becomes infatuated with a young girl forced to work in the library to pay for her studies. The role earned him an Oscar nomination.
Subsequently, he was notably hired by Peter Bogdanovich to Cotton candy (Paper Moon) in 1973 where he formed a duo with his daughter Tatum O’Neal − who received the Oscar for best supporting actress at age 10 −, and by Stanley Kubrick for his Barry Lyndon in 1975, a social satire exploring the mores of the 18th centurye century. He had maintained a television acting career until age 70 in the 2010s, appearing in series Bones And Desperate Housewives.
A tumultuous relationship with Farrah Fawcett
“So sad to hear the news of Ryan O’Neal’s death,” posted on Instagram the actress Barbara Streisand, who starred with him in Shall we pack our bags, doctor? (What’s Up, Doc?) in 1972 and in the 1979 boxing romantic comedy Tender Fight (The Main Event). “He was funny and charming, and he will be remembered”she added.
The actor was also known for his tumultuous relationship with actress Farrah Fawcett (Funny ladies), which spanned several decades. She died of cancer in 2009, the same day as Michael Jackson. After the death of the actress, he was at the center of a dispute concerning a portrait of Farrah Fawcett signed Andy Warhol, claimed by the University of Texas. After a legal battle, a California court recognized in 2013 that he was the owner.
The actor had previously had other run-ins with the law. In 2009, he was sentenced to an 18-month drug treatment program after police arrested him and his son Redmond and found methamphetamine at their Malibu home.