Terry O'Neill (photographer)

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Terry O'Neill
Terry ONeill Oct 09.jpg
Terence Patrick O'Neill

(1938-07-30) 30 July 1938 (age 80)
London, England
Spouse(s)Vera Day
Faye Dunaway (1983–1987)
Laraine Ashton
ChildrenLiam Dunaway O'Neill

Terence Patrick O'Neill CBE (born 30 July 1938) is an English photographer. He gained renown documenting the fashions, styles, and celebrities of the 1960s. O'Neill's photographs capture his subjects candidly or in unconventional settings.

His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions. He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society in 2004[1] and the Society's Centenary Medal in 2011.[2]


O'Neill began his career working in a photographic unit for an airline at London's Heathrow Airport. During this time, he photographed a sleeping figure in a waiting area who, by happenstance, was revealed to be Britain's Home Secretary. O'Neill thereafter found further employment on Fleet Street with The Daily Sketch in 1959. His first professional job was photographing Laurence Olivier.[3]

During the 1960s, in addition to photographing contemporary celebrities such as Judy Garland, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, he also photographed members of the British royal family and prominent politicians, showing a more natural and human side to these subjects than had usually been portrayed before.[citation needed]

O'Neill's photographs of Elton John are among his most well-known. A selection of them appeared in the 2008 book, Eltonography. Also considered among his most famous images[4] are a series of American actress Faye Dunaway (his girlfriend at the time) at dawn on 29 March 1977, lounging next to the swimming pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel the morning after winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for Network, with several newspapers scattered around her and her Oscar statuette prominently shown on a table beside her breakfast tray.[5][6] The series was photographed in both color and black and white. One black and white photo from the series is in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London.[4]

O'Neill was credited (as Terrence O'Neill) as an executive producer of the 1981 film Mommie Dearest.[7] His only other film credit was for still photography for the 1987 film, Aria.[8]

Personal life[edit]

O'Neill had a longtime relationship with Faye Dunaway, and married from 1983 until 1986. Their son, Liam Dunaway O'Neill, was born in 1980. In 2003, he was quoted in the U.S. tabloid magazine, Star, as saying Liam was adopted and not their biological son, contrary to Dunaway's public assertions.[9] O'Neill later married Laraine Ashton, a former model agency executive.


  • Chris Beetles Fine Photographs, London, 2006. A retrospective.
  • Getty Image Gallery, the Village, Westfield London, London, July 2009. A retrospective.[10]
  • San Francisco Art Exchange, San Francisco, CA, July–August in 2009. Photographs of Elton John and Frank Sinatra.[11]
  • Chris Beetles Fine Photographs, London, 2010. A retrospective.
  • Terry O'Neill, Reworked, 2010. Six artists were given their choice of the photographer's imagery to re-work as they wished.[12]
  • Leeds Gallery, Leeds, UK, September–October 2011. A retrospective.[13]
  • Chris Beetles Fine Photographs, London, 2011. A retrospective.
  • Ransom Art Gallery, London, September 2016. O'Neill's David Bowie photographs coinciding with the publication of Bowie By O'Neill.[14] Travelled to Mouche Gallery, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, 29 October – 9 November.[15]
  • Iconic Images Gallery, London, 2018. Rare and Unseen [16]


  • Legends, 1987
  • Celebrity, 2003
  • Sinatra: Frank and Friendly- A Unique Photographic Memoir of a Legend, 2007
  • Eltonography, 2008
  • All About Bond, 2012
  • Terry O’Neill, 2014
  • SINATRA, 2014
  • Terry O’Neill’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Album, 2014
  • Two Days that Rocked the World: Elton John Live at Dodger Stadium, 2015
  • Breaking Stones 1963 – 1965: A Band on the Brink of Superstardom., 2016
  • Bowie By O’Neill (2016), 2016
  • Terry O’Neill : Every Picture Tells a Story, 2016
  • When Ziggy Played The Marquee, 2017
  • Led Zeppelin Live : 1975 - 1977, 2018
  • Terry O'Neill: Rare & Unseen, 2018

Honours and awards[edit]

O'Neill was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2019 Birthday Honours for services to photography.[17]


  1. ^ a b "Honorary Fellowships (HonFRPS)". Royal Photographic Society. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Error - RPS". www.rps.org. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ a b "About the Art", background information published by the San Francisco Art Exchange. Accessed 28 January 2007.
  5. ^ O'Neill, Terry "Oscar Ennui" Archived 31 January 2013 at Archive.today (1977) Rights owned by Getty Images.
  6. ^ O'Neill, Terry "Faye and Oscar" (1977) Image from print owned by Photographers Gallery, Los Angeles.
  7. ^ Mommie Dearest (1981), IMDb profile. Accessed 28 January 2007
  8. ^ Aria (1987), IMDb profile. Accessed 28 January 2007
  9. ^ "Dunaway's Son Liam Adopted, Says Ex", ContactMusic news index, 11 March 2003. Accessed 28 January 2007.
  10. ^ Getty Image Gallery presents Terry O’Neill: Behind The Scene Archived 26 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Westfield London. Accessed 22 June 2009.
  11. ^ "San Francisco Art Exchange : Gallery of The Popular Image". www.sfae.com. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  12. ^ ITV, UK; This Morning; Terry O'Neill speaks about the exhibition & contents; 18 April 2010
  13. ^ – Terry O'Neill at Leeds Gallery Archived 19 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "artnet". www.artnet.com. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  15. ^ http://www.davidbowie.com/news/bowie-oneill-la-exhibition-56401
  16. ^ "EXHIBITION : Rare & Unseen, by Terry O'Neill - Iconic Images". iconicimages.net. 3 October 2018. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  17. ^ "No. 62666". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 June 2019. p. B9.

External links[edit]