Ryan O'Neal

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Ryan O'Neal
Ryan Oneal - 1968.jpg
O'Neal in 1968.
Born Charles Patrick Ryan O'Neal
(1941-04-20) April 20, 1941 (age 75)
Los Angeles, United States
Occupation Actor
Years active 1960–present
Spouse(s) Joanna Moore (m. 1963; div. 1967)
Leigh Taylor-Young (m. 1967; div. 1973)
Partner(s) Farrah Fawcett (1979–1997, 2003–2009)
Children Tatum O'Neal
Griffin O'Neal
Patrick O'Neal
Redmond O'Neal
Parent(s) Charles O'Neal
Patricia Olga

Charles Patrick Ryan O'Neal[1] (born April 20, 1941), known professionally as Ryan O'Neal, is an American actor and former amateur boxer.

O'Neal trained as an amateur boxer before beginning his career in acting in 1960. In 1964, he landed the role of Rodney Harrington on the ABC nighttime soap opera Peyton Place. The series was an instant hit and boosted O'Neal's career. He later found success in films, most notably Love Story (1970), for which he received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations as Best Actor, What's Up, Doc? (1972), Paper Moon (1973), Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon (1975), and A Bridge Too Far (1977). Since 2007, he has had a recurring role in the TV series Bones as Max, the father of series co-protagonist Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan.

Early life[edit]

O'Neal was born in Los Angeles, the eldest son of actress Patricia Ruth Olga (née Callaghan; 1907–2003) and novelist and screenwriter Charles O'Neal.[2] His father was of English and Irish descent, while his mother was of half Irish and half Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.[2][3] His brother, Kevin, is an actor and screenwriter.[4]

O'Neal attended University High School, and trained there to become a Golden Gloves boxer. During the late 1950s, his father had a job writing on a television series called Citizen Soldier, and moved the family to Munich, where O'Neal attended Munich American High School.[5]


TV roles and early work[edit]

O'Neal appeared in guest roles on series that included The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Leave It to Beaver, Bachelor Father, Westinghouse Playhouse, Perry Mason and Wagon Train. From 1962 to 1963, he was a regular on NBC's Empire, another modern day western, where he played "Tal Garrett".[6] From 1964 to 1969, he was a regular on Peyton Place playing Rodney Harrington, the turbulent love interest of Mia Farrow's Alison Mackenzie, parts which launched both into stardom.

Feature film success[edit]

O'Neal's film career took off beginning with his role in Love Story (1970), earning a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actor. In 1973, he was number two in the annual Top Ten Box Office Stars, behind Clint Eastwood.[7]

He starred in a series of films for director Peter Bogdanovich, beginning with the screwball comedy What's Up, Doc? (with Barbra Streisand, 1972); following were Paper Moon (with daughter Tatum O'Neal in an Oscar-winning role, 1973); and Nickelodeon (1976, again with Tatum). Other films of the 1970s included Barry Lyndon (directed by Stanley Kubrick, 1975); A Bridge Too Far (1977); Oliver's Story (1978, a sequel to Love Story); and the car-chase film The Driver (directed by Walter Hill, also 1978).[6]

Later career[edit]

His film career faded by the end of the 1970s. His one time agent Sue Mengers later said of the decline:

I never figured it out myself. It was hard to cast Ryan—he was too beautiful—and I think a lot of men were jealous of him. Ryan was very cocky, self-confident, very masculine, and gorgeous, and he had every beautiful girl in the world going out with him. It didn’t make him popular with his male contemporaries; he never became pals with the guys who were in the center of things then.[8]

He starred as a character loosely based on director Bogdanovich in Irreconcilable Differences (1984). He returned to TV in the short-lived CBS series Good Sports (1991, with companion Farrah Fawcett), and as a recurring character on Fox's Bones (2007–present).[6]

In 2011, Ryan and Tatum attempted to restore their broken father/daughter relationship after 25 years. Their reunion and reconciliation process was captured in the Oprah Winfrey Network series, Ryan and Tatum: The O'Neals.[6]

In 2016, Ryan O'Neal reunited with Love Story co-star Ali MacGraw in a staging of A.R. Gurney's play Love Letters.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Relationships and family[edit]

O'Neal was in a long-term relationship with actress Farrah Fawcett until her death in 2009. He was previously married to actresses Joanna Moore and Leigh Taylor-Young; both marriages ended in divorce. He has four children: Tatum O'Neal and Griffin O'Neal (with Moore), Patrick O'Neal (with Taylor-Young), and Redmond James Fawcett O'Neal (with Fawcett; born January 30, 1985).[10] In her 2014 memoir, Anjelica Huston claimed that O'Neal physically abused her when they were in a relationship.[11]

For several years, O'Neal was estranged from his elder three children.[12] However, in 2011, Tatum reconciled with her father with a book and a television show. On August 4, O'Neal, Tatum, and Patrick attended Redmond's court appearance on firearms and drug charges.[13]

O'Neal has nine grandchildren: three from Tatum's marriage to tennis player John McEnroe,[14] four from both of Griffin's marriages,[15] and two from Patrick's relationship with actress Rebecca De Mornay. He is a great-grandfather by his estranged son, Griffin.[16]


In 2001 he was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).[17] As of 2006, it is in remission.[18] After struggling with leukemia, O'Neal was frequently seen at Fawcett's side when she was battling cancer. He told People magazine, "It's a love story. I just don't know how to play this one. I won't know this world without her. Cancer is an insidious enemy."[19]

In April 2012, O'Neal revealed he had been diagnosed with stage IV prostate cancer. He reported that it had been detected early enough to give a prognosis of full recovery, although some doctors have questioned this prognosis.[20]



Year Title Role Notes
1969 The Big Bounce Jack Ryan
1970 The Games Scott Reynolds
1970 Love Story Oliver Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
1971 The Moviemakers N/A Short film
1971 Wild Rovers Frank Post
1972 What's Up, Doc? Howard Bannister
1973 The Thief Who Came to Dinner Webster McGee
1973 Paper Moon Moses Pray Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1975 Barry Lyndon Barry Lyndon
1976 Nickelodeon Leo Harrigan
1977 A Bridge Too Far Brigadier General James M. Gavin
1978 The Driver The Driver
1978 Oliver's Story Oliver Barrett IV
1979 The Main Event Eddie 'Kid Natural' Scanlon
1981 So Fine Joseph Wiley
1981 Circle of Two Theatre patron Uncredited
1981 Green Ice Bobby Fine
1982 Partners Sgt. Benson
1984 Irreconcilable Differences Albert Brodsky
1985 Fever Pitch Steve Taggart
1987 Tough Guys Don't Dance Tim Madden Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor
1989 Chances Are Philip Train
1989 Small Sacrifices Lew Lewiston
1995 Man of the House Man with Kite Uncredited
1996 Faithful Jack Connor
1997 Hacks Dr. Applefield
1997 An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn James Edmunds Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor
1998 Zero Effect Gregory Stark
1999 Coming Soon Dick
2000 The List Richard Miller
2002 People I Know Cary Launer
2003 Gentleman B. Phil
2003 Malibu's Most Wanted Bill Gluckman
2012 Slumber Party Slaughter William O'Toole
2015 Knight of Cups Ryan
2015 Unity Narrator


Year Title Role Notes
1960 The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis Herm Episode: "The Hunger Strike"
1960 The Untouchables Bellhop (uncredited) Episode: "Jack 'Legs' Diamonds"
1960 General Electric Theater Art Anderson Episode: "The Playoff"
1961 The DuPont Show with June Allyson Cadet Wade Farrell Episode: "Without Fear"
1961 Bachelor Father Marty Braden Episode: "Bentley and the Great Debate"
1961 Laramie Johnny Jacobs Episode: "Bitter Glory"
1961 Leave It to Beaver Tom Henderson Episode: "Wally Goes Steady"
1962–63 Empire Tal Garrett 31 episodes
1963 The Virginian Ben Anders Episode: "It Takes a Big Man"
1964 Perry Mason John Carew Episode: "The Case of the Bountiful Beauty"
1964–69 Peyton Place Rodney Harrington 422 episodes
1991 Good Sports Bobby Tannen 15 episodes
1992 1775 Jeremy Proctor Unsold TV pilot
1995 The Larry Sanders Show Ryan O'Neal 2 episodes
2000–01 Bull Robert Roberts, Jr. 6 episodes
2003 Miss Match Jerry Fox 18 episodes
2005 Desperate Housewives Rodney Scavo Episode: "Your Fault"
2010 90210 Spence Montgomery 3 episodes
2006–16 Bones Max Keenan 22 episodes




Amateur boxing record[edit]

Based on various sources.[22]

Amateur boxing record
Result Record Opponent Method Date Round Time Event Location Notes
Win 12-4 United States Frankie Lohman KO 1959 1 Munich, Germany
Loss 11-4 United States Tony Foramero PTS 1957 3 Golden Gloves Tournament Los Angeles
Win 11-3 United States Stevie Rouse KO 1957 1 Golden Gloves Tournament (Finals) Los Angeles
Win 10-3 United States Chuck Newell PTS 1957 3 Golden Gloves Tournament (Semi-Finals) Los Angeles
Win 9-3 United States Alvin "Allen" Walker KO 1957 1 Los Angeles
Win 8-3 United States Samuel Roland Foul 1956 1 Hollywood, Florida
Win 7-3 United States Leonard Wallace KO 1956 1 Los Angeles
Win 6-3 United States Eugene Liebert KO 1956 1 Los Angeles
Win 5-3 United States Felix Morse KO 1956 2 Los Angeles
Win 4-3 United States George Shay PTS 1956 3 Hollywood, California
Win 3-3 United States Edmund Dowe PTS 1956 3 Los Angeles
Win 2-3 United States Victor Fellsen KO 1956 1 Los Angeles
Loss 1-3 United States Dal Stewart PTS 1956 3 Los Angeles
Loss 1-2 United States George Shay PTS 1956 3 Golden Gloves Tournament Los Angeles
Win 1-1 United States J. Cecil Gray PTS 1956 3 Golden Gloves Tournament Los Angeles
Loss 0-1 United States J. Cecil Gray PTS 1956 3 Los Angeles


  1. ^ Birth Registry, californiabirthindex.org; accessed June 22, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Profile, familysearch.org; accessed June 22, 2014.
  3. ^ IMDb profile; accessed June 22, 2014.
  4. ^ Charles O'Neal profile, filmreference.com; accessed June 22, 2014.
  5. ^ Ryan O'Neal profile, Yahoo.com; accessed June 22, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d Ryan O'Neal at the Internet Movie Database
  7. ^ Steinberg, Cobbett (1980). Film Facts. New York: Facts on File, Inc. p. 60. ISBN 0-87196-313-2. 
  8. ^ Leslie Bennetts, Beautiful People Ugly Choices", Vanity Fair Sept 2009 accessed 16 Nov 2014
  9. ^ "For Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal, 45 years between love stories," The Boston Globe, January 28, 2016.
  10. ^ California Births 1905–1995, familytreelegends.com; accessed June 22, 2014.
  11. ^ dailybeast.com; accessed November 10, 2014.
  12. ^ Stuever, Hank, "On OWN, ‘Ryan & Tatum's’ paper gloom", Washington Post, June 17, 2011
  13. ^ MacIntyre, April, "Ryan O'Neal and Tatum O'Neal talk Redmond O'Neal", Access Hollywood, August 4, 2011; accessed October 6, 2014.
  14. ^ Phillips, Stone. "Tatum O'Neal Shares Survival Story: Part 2", Dateline NBC, October 15, 2004.
  15. ^ Ninth grandkis
  16. ^ "Rebecca De Morney — about this person". New York Times. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Actor O'Neal Has Cancer". BBC News. May 3, 2001. Retrieved 2009-05-26. 
  18. ^ Graham, Caroline (October 7, 2006). "Why I Have To Be Strong For Farrah". Daily Mail. London, UK. Retrieved 2009-05-25. ...a disease now in remission but for which he still takes daily medication... 
  19. ^ Bryant, Adam (May 7, 2009). "Ryan O'Neal: Watching Farrah Battle Cancer Is Like "Being Stabbed in the Heart"". TV Guide. Retrieved 2009-05-07. 
  20. ^ Notice of O'Neal's cancer, yahoo.com; accessed June 26, 2014.
  21. ^ "Awards Database". Los Angeles Times. The Envelope: The Awards Insider. Retrieved 2009-05-25. 
  22. ^ Biodata, imdb.com; accessed October 6, 2014.

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