Oscar-nominated actor Ryan O’Neal, best known for ’70s films Paper Moon, Love Story, Stanley Kubrick‘s Barry Lyndon, What’s Up Doc?, as well as a recurring role on the FOX series Bones, has died at the age of 82.
No cause of death was given by O’Neal’s son Patrick in an Instagram post on Friday afternoon, saying:
“Ryan was a very generous man who has always been there to help his loved ones for decade upon decade. Those same people are heartbroken today and will be for a long time. My everlasting thanks to his team. Our team. Marly you are so special to Ryan. You have been with our family for 39 years. Needed you every day. Greg and Melanie thank you for your care and friendship with my dad. I’m so sorry. Hart having you with me by my side was so important for me. And you. Alexandra. You are a true champion. Thank you so much. You are family. Dr. Piro thank you for your love and care for my father. You have quite a history together. There are many many many others who my father touched. And who love him. This is just so hard for us. Ryan made such an impact and this will be difficult without him. This is and will be a huge void in our lives. And his dogs Mozart and Raven, who he loved dearly, are missing him very much. They were inseparable.
I will share my father’s legacy forever. I will not be deterred from outside voices that say negative things. If you choose to talk shit about my dad, even though you have no clue what you are talking about, you will get called out. If you go that route, I recommend you take a good look in the mirror first.
My dad was 82, and lived a kick ass life. I hope the first thing he brags about in Heaven is how he sparred 2 rounds with Joe Frazier in 1966, on national TV, with Muhammad Ali doing the commentary, and went toe to toe with Smokin’ Joe. YouTube has it and trust me, it’s so awesome. Ryan by a majority decision. He loved boxing. And hitting the bag. My dad is a proud member of the West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame.
Ryan never bragged. But he has bragging rights in Heaven. Especially when it comes to Farrah. Everyone had the poster, he had the real McCoy. And now they meet again. Farrah and Ryan. He has missed her terribly. What an embrace that must be. Together again.
I’ll miss you dad. I love you. We love you.
No one told a story better than Ryan O’Neal.
4/20/41 ~ 12/8/2023″
Born on April 20, 1941, as Charles Patrick Ryan O’Neal, son to a screenwriter and an actress, and appearing regularly on television throughout much of the ’60s before being cast at the age of 29 in Love Story, the highest-grossing movie of 1970. O’Neal’s performance allowed him to receive his one and only Academy Award nomination, playing Oliver Barrett IV, a Harvard hockey player married to a dying woman, played by Ali MacGraw. O’Neal wasn’t the first choice for the role, which was first Jon Voight and then Beau Bridges, but MacGraw convinced Paramount to give the TV actor a chance.
A few years later, he’d be teamed with Barbra Streisand in Peter Bogdonavich‘s comedy, What’s Up Doc?, in 1972, and then starring with his own 9-year-old daughter, Tatum O’Neal, in Bogdanovich’s Depression-era drama Paper Moon, a year later.
In 1975, O’Neal starred in Barry Lyndon, which continues to be a favorite of many cinephiles, but he also starred in Richard Attenborough‘s A Bridge Too Far.
O’Neal became almost as famous for his off-screen problems, as well as that of his family, between his on-again off-again relationship with the late Farah Fawcett to spending 51 days in jail due to a New Year’s Eve brawl at the age of 18. In 2007, O’Neal was charged with assaulting his son Griffin, and then a year later, he was arrested on a drug charge with his other son, Redmond, and Fawcett.
After Fawcett died of cancer in 2009, O’Neal published his book, Both of Us: My Life With Farrah, in 2012, the same year that he himself was being treated for prostate cancer. After his recurring role on the Fox show, Bones, from 2006 through 2017, although he would also appear with his estranged daughter Tatum on the 2011 reality series, Ryan and Tatum: The O’Neals, on Oprah Winfrey‘s OWN cable channel.