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Ryan O’Neal Through the Years: The ‘Love Story’ Star’s Life in Photos 

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Actor Ryan O’Neal has died. The Love Story star was 82. His son, sportscaster Patrick O’Neal, shared the sad news on Instagram. 

“My dad passed away peacefully today, with his loving team by his side supporting him and loving him as he would us,” he wrote. 

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

Keep scrolling to revisit O’Neal’s life in photos. 

Ryan O’Neal starred in ‘Peyton Place’ 

O’Neal was born in 1941 to screenwriter Charles O’Neal and actor Patricia Callaghan O’Neal. He began acting in the early 1960s with roles in shows such as Leave It to Beaver and The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. His breakout role was as Rodney Harrington in the soap opera Peyton Place

Ryan O'Neal and Joanna Moore pose with their young children Griffin and Tatum in 1965

In 1963, O’Neal married actor Joanna Moore, with whom he had two children: Tatum O’Neal and Griffin O’Neal. In 1967, he married his Peyton Place co-star Leigh Taylor-Young. They had a son, Patrick.

He was nominated for an Academy Award for ‘Love Story’

Ali MacGraw embracing Ryan O'Neal from behind in 'Love Story'

In 1970, O’Neal – already a TV star – landed the starring role in Love Story. He starred opposite Ali MacGraw as a rich Harvard student who falls for a working-class girl. They marry despite his family’s objections, but soon after she dies of cancer. O’Neal earned his only Oscar nomination for the role. 

Ryan O'Neal sitting on a bed next to Marisa Berenson in 18th century costumes in 'Barry Lyndon'

After Love Story, O’Neal went on to star in a number of notable films in the 1970s, including What’s Up, Doc? with Barbra Streisand and Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. 

Tatum O’Neal and her dad co-starred in ‘Paper Moon’ 

Black and white photo of Tatum O'Neal and Ryan O'Neal in a car in 'Paper Moon'

In 1973, another member of the O’Neal family earned an Academy Award nomination. At age 10, Tatum O’Neal became the youngest Oscar winner in history when she took home the best supporting actress trophy for Paper Moon. She starred opposite her dad in the movie, which followed a con man saddled with caring for a girl who may or may not be his daughter. 

Ryan O’Neal’s romance with Farrah Fawcett began in 1979

Ryan O'Neal, in a tux, with Farrah Fawcett in the background

In 1979, O’Neal began a relationship with Charlie’s Angels star Farrah Fawcett. Her then-husband Lee Majors introduced the two and asked O’Neal to take his wife to dinner while he was away on a film shoot. That was the beginning of Fawcett and O’Neal’s decades-long relationship, which would last (with one major break) until her death in 2009. 

Ryan O'Neal in sunglasses walking next to Farrah Fawcett, who is holding their son Redmond

Fawcett and O’Neal never married. But in 1985, they did have a son, Redmond O’Neal. In 1989, they co-starred in the TV miniseries Small Sacrifices, which was based on the real-life case of Diane Downs (Fawcett), who murdered her children to be with her lover (O’Neal). 

O’Neal had a tumultuous personal life 

Ryan O'Neal and his son Redmond in court in 2008

Though O’Neal was a major Hollywood star, his personal life was often tumultuous. He and Fawcett ended their relationship in the late 1990s when she caught him in bed with another woman. They reconciled a few years later when he was diagnosed with leukemia. At times, he was estranged from his adult children. In 2007, he was arrested for shooting at his son Griffin, and in 2008, he and Redmond were arrested on drug charges. 

Ryan O'Neal looks at the hearse at Farrah Fawcett's funeral

In 2009, Fawcett died. O’Neal admitted that he had regrets about their relationship. “I wish I could do it over with her,” he told Vanity Fair. “I would have been much kinder, more understanding, more mature.”

He played Temperance Brennan’s father in ‘Bones’

Ryan O'Neal clapping at Temperance's wedding in 'Bones'

While O’Neal’s career slowed down in later years, he continued to appear in films and TV shows. One of his notable later roles was as Temperance Brennan’s (Emily Deschanel) father Max in Bones. In 2015, he reunited with MacGraw for a touring production of the play Love Letters. 

Ryan O'Neal poses next to Farrah Fawcett's red bathing suit

He also continued to nurture Fawcett’s legacy. In 2011, he donated some of her personal items – including the red swimsuit she wore in her iconic poster – to the Smithsonian. In 2012, he opened up about their love story in the memoir Both of Us. 

O’Neal died on Dec. 8, 2023

Ryan O'Neal with his son Patrick at an Angels game in 2022

Ryan O’Neal died on Dec. 8, 2023. A cause of death was not disclosed. His son Patrick, remembered his many accomplishments in his Instagram tribute.  

“​​He was so skilled at his craft, worked so hard, and just loved acting plain and simple … As a human being, my father was as generous as they come. And the funniest person in any room. And the most handsome clearly, but also the most charming,” he wrote. “…As my father, he was second to none. The best and most loving and supportive dad, and I am just so lucky to have had him.” 

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Source: Cheat Sheet

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