Vale: Ryan O’Neal

Vale: Ryan O’Neal

US acting royalty Ryan O’Neal, best known for Love Story and What’s Up Doc, has died aged 82.

His family did not share a cause of death, but O’Neal was diagnosed with chronic leukaemia in 2001 and prostate cancer in 2012.

His son said his father was “a Hollywood legend. Full stop.”

“My dad passed away peacefully today, with his loving team by his side supporting him,” Patrick O’Neal wrote on Instagram.

O’Neal took up boxing in school and developed an impressive physique before he was cast in Peyton Place, America’s first prime-time soap opera. Guest roles included The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Untouchables, General Electric Theater, The DuPont Show with June Allyson, Laramie, Two Faces West, Westinghouse Playhouse, Bachelor Father, My Three Sons, Leave It to Beaver.

His good looks catapulted him from television soap to movie stardom in Love Story as an upper-crust Harvard undergraduate who falls in love with a working class student (Ali MacGraw).

He went on to star in 1972 screwball comedy What’s Up, Doc?, alongside Barbra Streisand, acting with her again in The Main Event in 1979.

“So sad to hear the news of Ryan O’Neal’s passing,” Streisand posted on social media. “He was funny and charming, and he will be remembered.”

He played a Depression-era conman in road comedy-drama Paper Moon (1973), alongside his nine-year-old daughter, Tatum O’Neal, who won an Oscar.

O’Neal also appeared in Bridge Too Far, Barry Lyndon but his star faded at the end of the 1970s.

Further TV roles included The Larry Sanders Show, Bull, Desperate Housewives, Miss Match, 90210 and Bones.

O’Neal was also known for his long-term, tumultuous romance with actress Farrah Fawcett. That relationship lasted from 1979 to 1997, and then from 2001 until Fawcett’s death in 2009.

In the tribute to his father, Patrick O’Neal said that he was “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,” he added. “And the funniest person in any room. And the most handsome clearly, but also the most charming. Lethal combo.”

Source: BBC