Richard Dean Anderson as Jack O'Neill
|Last appearance||"Incursion" (Universe)|
|Created by||Roland Emmerich
and Dean Devlin
|Portrayed by||Kurt Russell (1994)
Richard Dean Anderson (1997-2010)
|Occupation||United States Air Force
|Spouse(s)||Sara O'Neill (wife in film)/(ex-wife in television series)|
|Children||Tyler O'Neil (son, in film)
Charlie O'Neill (son, deceased, in television series)
Jonathan J. "Jack" O'Neill, USAF is a fictional character in military science fiction franchise Stargate, and primarily one of the main characters of the television series Stargate SG-1. He is most known as portrayed by actor Richard Dean Anderson, who played O'Neill in all the Stargate media since 1997, when he took over the role from actor Kurt Russell, who portrayed the character in the original Stargate film in 1994. O'Neill and Daniel Jackson are the two only characters to appear in both the original film and all three Stargate television series.
In his first appearance in the 1994 film as Jack O'Neil, the character leads the first team to go through the Stargate on a reconnaissance mission. He subsequently becomes the main character of the television series Stargate SG-1 created in 1997 and, acting as a sequel to the movie. In the first seven seasons of the show, O'Neill is the leader of the team SG-1, a part of Stargate Program whose goal is to explore the galaxy and defend against alien threats.
The character's importance became less prominent in the eighth season in which he is promoted Commanding Officer of Stargate Command, therefore greatly reducing the character's time spent exploring via the Stargate. Anderson chose to reduce his character's status to spend more time with his family, eventually leaving the show at the start of its ninth season and only appearing four times until the end of the series in its tenth and final season. The character's absence from the show was explained by his promotion to the position of head of the Department of Homeworld Security. Anderson reprised his role once again in the direct-to-DVD film Stargate: Continuum, acting as a sequel to the TV series.
O'Neill also appeared in the two other Stargate television series: he was an occasional character in the first three seasons of Stargate Atlantis, serving as an Earth contact with Atlantis, and in four episodes of Stargate Universe (his appearance in the show's first season finale being his last apparition in the Stargate universe to date). Anderson also voiced the character in the video game Stargate SG-1: Unleashed. Anderson was praised for his portrayal, with O'Neill remaining his most famous role to date alongside MacGyver. For his role in Stargate SG-1, Anderson earned eight consecutive Saturn Award for Best Actor on Television nominations from 1998 to 2005, winning the award in 1999.
Jack O'Neill is a United States Air Force colonel with experience in special operations before joining the Stargate Program. He then joins a suicidal mission through the Stargate with a couple of airmen and Dr. Daniel Jackson who deciphers the Stargate. They are transported to another planet where O'Neill's standing order is to detonate a nuclear warhead near the Stargate at the sign of danger, but a young boy named Skaara gives him a renewed sense of life. After the defeat of Ra, O'Neill and his team return to Earth while Jackson remains on the planet. He was married to Sarah O'Neill, but their marriage suffered when Jack sank into a deep depression after their son accidentally shot himself with O'Neill's pistol. Though they are still together when Jack is initially recruited for his first mission through the Stargate, by the time he returned she had left him.
O'Neill returns to the Stargate Program when the Goa'uld Apophis attacks Earth. He is given command of SG-1, which consists of Samantha Carter, Teal'c and Jackson. Eventually O'Neill gets the Repository of the Ancients temporarily "downloaded" to his brain and becomes the first modern human to travel to another galaxy, the Asgard home galaxy. A second download of the Ancients' knowledge into his brain during the season 7 finale, allows him to lead SG-1 to an Ancient outpost in Antarctica. O'Neill possesses the ATA gene, and thus is able to operate the Ancient control chair and save Earth from Anubis' fleet. With the Ancient knowledge about to overwhelm his personality and kill him, he is placed into a stasis pod in the outpost until Thor of the Asgard is able to remove the knowledge and save his life. After that event, O'Neill is promoted to brigadier general and is given command of Stargate Command. O'Neill is promoted again off-screen and becomes the new head of the Department of Homeworld Security with Major General Hank Landry taking his position as the new commander of Stargate Command.
In the pilot of Stargate Atlantis, O'Neill convinces John Sheppard to join the Atlantis expedition to the Pegasus Galaxy. He, along with Richard Woolsey, visits Atlantis to create a treaty between the humans of Earth and the Ancients. The death of O'Neill is briefly shown in an alternate timeline where Ba'al controls the Goa'uld Empire. O'Neill reappears as a lieutenant general in Stargate Universe with Nicholas Rush, where he is recruiting Eli Wallace into the Icarus Project. After the attack on the Icarus Base, he contacts Carter from The Pentagon to talk about the ongoing situation. With help from the Ancient Communication Stones, Everett Young body swaps with Colonel David Telford to tell O'Neill about a dire situation in which they find themselves.
John Symes approached Michael Greenburg and Richard Dean Anderson of MacGyver fame. Although Anderson was never a real fan of the science fiction genre, he believed the original feature film to be a good vehicle for a series. Anderson agreed to become involved with the project if his character was allowed significantly more comedic leeway than Kurt Russell's character in the feature film, shown especially Anderson's flippant and utter disregard for appropriate military protocol and decorum over the series, which contrasted Russell's "by the book" adherence to protocol. He also requested Stargate SG-1 to be more of an ensemble show, so that he would not be carrying the plot alone as on MacGyver. Anderson was part of the main cast from season 1 through 8 and played a recurring role in several episodes each season thereafter. He was influential in the development of O'Neill's character and personality from the beginning. While he praised the work done by Russell in the Stargate film, he said he couldn't be that serious all the time and worked with the writers and directors to give his O'Neill a more lighthearted tone while maintaining the sense of importance the role required. Besides, he joked that he would never be able to get his hair to stay like Russell's. This "double personality" was also joked in the second season, when Jack introduced himself as: "It's "O'Neill," with two L's. There's another Colonel O'Neil with only one L, and he has no sense of humor at all."
In season 6, Anderson chose to have a reduced role in the series so that he could spend more time with his young daughter. When Anderson left the show as a main character in the eighth season, the producers were talking about ending the series. Instead, the series introduced two new characters in the ninth season, Ben Browder as Cameron Mitchell, the new SG-1 team leader, and Beau Bridges as Hank Landry, the new commanding officer of Stargate Command. Anderson continued to appear in a recurring status on Stargate SG-1, albeit with less frequent appearances. He returned for the second straight-to-DVD film, Stargate: Continuum in a brief cameo, and was expected to return for the third movie. Executive producer Brad Wright stressed the importance of O'Neill's presence in the Stargate universe even after the character went on hiatus during the last two seasons of SG-1 when Anderson took a leave from regular acting.
Anderson has also had various guest appearances on the two spin off series' Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe. Anderson had several guest cameos scattered over the first season of Stargate Universe. He is mainly seen in the Pentagon but later visits the Destiny after the revelations about Telford emerge. In total, he appears in six episodes of Stargate Universe, the most of any main actor from Stargate SG-1.
For his portrayal of O'Neill, Richard Dean Anderson won a Saturn Award in the category "Best Genre TV Actor" in 1999, and was nominated in the same category in 1998 and 2000. From 2001 to 2005, Anderson was nominated for a Saturn Award in the category "Best Actor on Television" but never won. Anderson was nominated in the category for "Best Male Performance in a 2008 Science Fiction Film, TV Movie, or Mini-Series" at the Constellation Awards in 2009 for his work in Stargate: Continuum (2008), where he reprised his role as O'Neill.
He was presented with an award at the Air Force Association's 57th Annual Air Force Anniversary Dinner in Washington, D.C. on September 14, 2004 because of his role as star and executive producer of Stargate SG-1, a series which has portrayed the Air Force in a positive light since it first premiered. It was presented by the then-Air Force Chief-of-Staff, General John P. Jumper. Anderson was made an honorary Brigadier General.
The following are the medals and service awards worn by General O'Neill.
In addition to Lieutenant General (Lt. Gen.) O'Neil's medals and ribbons, he is shown throughout the series wearing two badges. These two badges are worn above O'Neil's ribbon rack. In order of United States Air Force (U.S.A.F.) award precedence, the top badge worn is classified by the U.S.A.F. as a "skill badge"-a Master Parachutist Badge, shown below:
The Master Parachutist Badge, as is awarded by the U.S. Army, authorized for wear on U.S. Air Force uniforms
This particular skill badge indicates that Lt. Gen. O'Neil has, at a minimum, completed 65 static line parachute jumps. Of this minimum number of jumps, at least four (4) jumps would have been during hours of darkness. At least twenty-five (25) of the jumps would have been executed while Lt. Gen. O'Neil wore full combat and operational gear. The amount of gear required to meet the operational standard would be determined by the particular "USAF Major Command" O'Neil was assigned to, at the time he was executing the jumps. Third of all, five (5) jumps would have been made while assigned or attached to a fully operational unit, executing either an actual airborne assault, or an operational training jump. Additionally, as another requirement to receive his Master Jump Wings, O'Neil would have had to completed the United States Army Jumpmaster School, becoming a certified Primary Jumpmaster (PJM). Finally, of his 65 jumps toward Master Jump Wings, fifteen would have to be executed while he was acting as the PJM (five of these jumps would have to have been completed during hours of darkness). Once he had completed all of the aforementioned requirements, O'Neil was then authorized to don the Master Parachutist Badge.
Worn directly below O'Neils jump wings,
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