Terry O'Neill (photographer)

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Terry O'Neill
Terry ONeill Oct 09.jpg
Born Terence Patrick O'Neill
(1938-07-30) 30 July 1938 (age 78)
London, England
Occupation Photographer
Spouse(s) Vera Day
Faye Dunaway (1983–1987)
Laraine Ashton
Children Liam Dunaway O'Neill
Website https://www.iconicimages.net/photographers/terry-oneill

Terence Patrick "Terry" O'Neill (born 30 July 1938) is an English photographer. He gained renown documenting the fashions, styles, and celebrities of the 1960s. O'Neill's photographs display his knack for capturing his subjects candidly or in unconventional settings. His work has also 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]


Terry 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]

His reputation grew during the 1960s. In addition to photographing the decade's show-business elite 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.

Iconic photographs[edit]

Terry O'Neill's iconic 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 shots showing 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 & white. One black & white from the series hangs in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London.[4]

Personal life[edit]

O'Neill had a longtime relationship with Faye Dunaway. His son with Dunaway, Liam Dunaway O'Neill, was born in 1980. Terry was married to Faye from 1983 until 1986. In 2003, he was quoted in the US tabloid magazine, Star, as saying Liam was adopted and not their biological son, contrary to Dunaway's public assertions.[7] Terry is currently married to Laraine Ashton, a former model agency executive.

O'Neill was also credited (as Terrence O'Neill) as an executive producer of the 1981 film Mommie Dearest.[8] His only other film credit was for still photography for the 1987 film, Aria.[9]


Retrospective exhibitions of Terry O'Neill's photographs have been held on three occasions at Chris Beetles Fine Photographs, London, in 2006, 2010 and 2011. They continue to be the main representatives of his work.[10]

In July 2009, a collection of work spanning his whole career was the subject of an exhibition at the Getty Image Gallery in the Village, Westfield Shopping Centre, London.[11]

An exhibition featuring his photography of Elton John and Frank Sinatra was also featured at the San Francisco Art Exchange in San Francisco from July to August in 2009.[12]

A 2010 exhibition titled Terry O'Neill, Reworked, took a unique direction with Terry's photographs. Six artists were given their choice of the photographer's imagery to re-work as they wished. O'Neill made an appearance on British television with a selection of featured interpretations and their corresponding original photographs.[13] One vintage photograph of Sean Connery as his James Bond character, shot on the set of Diamonds Are Forever, was photo-realistically recreated using ballpoint pen. Terry expressed amazement at its four weeks completion time.

Leeds Gallery, an independent commercial art gallery in Leeds, West Yorkshire, held a retrospective exhibition of Terry O'Neill's photographs during September and October 2011.[14]

In September 2016, Ransom Art Gallery exhibited O'Neill's extensive archive of David Bowie photography coinciding with the publication of 'Bowie By O'Neill'.[15]

Terry O'Neill's Bowie By O'Neill exhibition then moved to Mouche Gallery in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles on 29th October where it will exhibit until 9th November.[16]


  • Legends, 1 June 1987
  • Celebrity, 8 September 2003
  • Sinatra: Frank and Friendly- A Unique Photographic Memoir of a Legend, 4 October 2007
  • Eltonography, 30 September 2008
  • All About Bond, 1 October 2012
  • Terry O’Neill, 12 March 2014
  • SINATRA, 16 October 2014
  • Terry O’Neill’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Album, 6 November 2014
  • Two Days that Rocked the World: Elton John Live at Dodger Stadium, 28 October 2015
  • Breaking Stones 1963 – 1965: A Band on the Brink of Superstardom., 30 March 2016
  • Bowie By O’Neill (2016), 21 September 2016
  • Terry O’Neill : Every Picture Tells a Story, 15 November 2016



  1. ^ a b "Honorary Fellowships (HonFRPS)". Royal Photographic Society. Retrieved 8 March 2017. 
  2. ^ a b http://www.rps.org/annual-awards/Centenary-Medal
  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" (1977) Rights owned by Getty Images.
  6. ^ O'Neill, Terry "Faye and Oscar" (1977) Image from print owned by Photographers Gallery, Los Angeles.
  7. ^ "Dunaway's Son Liam Adopted, Says Ex", ContactMusic news index, 11 March 2003. Accessed 28 January 2007.
  8. ^ Mommie Dearest (1981), IMDb profile. Accessed 28 January 2007
  9. ^ Aria (1987), IMDb profile. Accessed 28 January 2007
  10. ^ – Terry O'Neill at Chris Beetles Fine Photographs, London
  11. ^ Getty Image Gallery presents Terry O’Neill: Behind The Scene Archived 26 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine., Westfield London. Accessed 22 June 2009.
  12. ^ San Francisco Art Exchange: Artists | Terry O'Neill
  13. ^ ITV, UK; This Morning; Terry O'Neill speaks about the exhibition & contents; 18 April 2010
  14. ^ – Terry O'Neill at Leeds Gallery Archived 19 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ http://www.artnet.com/galleries/mark-ransom-/david-bowie-by-terry-oneill-photography/
  16. ^ http://www.davidbowie.com/news/bowie-oneill-la-exhibition-56401

External links[edit]