‘Love Story’ star Ryan O’Neal passes away, leaving Hollywood in mourning

Dec 09, 2023
Devastated fans and celebrities alike flooded social media with a torrent of heartfelt tributes, reminiscing about O'Neal's incredible performances. Source: Getty Images.

In a heartbreaking turn of events, the entertainment world is grappling with the death of legendary actor Ryan O’Neal.

Known for his charismatic performances and undeniable charm, O’Neal’s passing at the age of 82 leaves a void in Hollywood that will be difficult to fill.

No cause of death has been revealed.

O’Neal’s son, Patrick, took to Instagram to announce his father’s passing while delivering a touching tribute to the Love Story star.

“So this is the toughest thing I’ve ever had to say but here we go. My dad passed away peacefully today, with his loving team by his side supporting him and loving him as he would us. This is very difficult for my wife Summer and I, but I will share some feelings to give you an idea of how great a man he is,” he wrote.

“My father Ryan O’Neal has always been my hero. I looked up to him and he was always bigger than life. When I was born in 1967 my dad was already a TV star on Peyton Place. That’s where he met my mom Leigh Taylor-Young, and about 9 months later (give or take a date night or two) I was born. My dad became an international movie star with Love Story at the beginning of the 1970’s, a decade he absolutely crushed by starring in movies like What’s Up, Doc?, Paper Moon, Barry Lyndon, A Bridge Too Far, The Main Event, and The Driver.

“He is a Hollywood legend. Full stop. The growth spurt of the first name Ryan can be traced back to my dad. That’s a fact. He was Rodney Harrington on Peyton Place 3 days a week (he starred in 500 shows over 5 years) and then of course the name Ryan peaked after Love Story (the film that saved Paramount Studios and earned my dad a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame).”


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A post shared by Patrick O’Neal (@patrick_oneal)

Born April 20, 1941, O’Neal’s journey to stardom saw him trading lifeguard and amateur boxing pursuits for the dazzling lights of Hollywood. From bit parts and stunt work, he soared to prominence with a lead role on the prime-time soap opera Peyton Place (1964-69).

O’Neal’s silver screen debut in 1969’s The Big Bounce, alongside then-wife Leigh Taylor-Young, was a prelude to his meteoric ascent with Love Story, the 1970 romantic melodrama that not only solidified his status as a Hollywood heavyweight but also garnered seven Oscar nominations, clinching the win for Best Music.

Collaborating with director Peter Bogdanovich, O’Neal showcased his versatility, portraying a bumbling professor opposite Barbra Streisand in the 1972 screwball comedy What’s Up, Doc? The following year, he delivered a captivating performance in Paper Moon, a Depression-era con artist comedy where he played an unscrupulous Bible salesman opposite his real-life daughter, Tatum, who earned an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

O’Neal’s personal life often made headlines, particularly his nearly 30-year romantic involvement with actress Farrah Fawcett. The couple weathered storms and split in 1997, reuniting a few years later. O’Neal stood steadfast by Fawcett’s side during her cancer battle, which sadly claimed her life in 2009 at the age of 62.

O’Neal’s legacy extends beyond the screen through his children. With his first wife, Joanna Moore, he fathered actors Griffin O’Neal and Tatum O’Neal. He also fathered son, Patrick, with his second wife, Leigh Taylor-Young. He had another son, Redmond, with Fawcett.

Devastated fans and celebrities alike flooded social media with a torrent of heartfelt tributes, reminiscing about O’Neal’s incredible performances.

O’Neal is survived by his four children Tatum, Griffin, Redmond, and Patrick.

-with AP.

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