Listen to the audio version of the article
Ryan O’Neal, one of the biggest stars of the Seventies, passed away following two serious illnesses: the actor was diagnosed with chronic leukemia in 2001 and then prostate cancer in 2012.
His son Patrick announced his death at the age of 82 on his Instagram profile.
Born in Los Angeles on April 20, 1941, the son of two artists (his father was a writer and screenwriter and his mother an actress), O’Neal began acting for the small screen when he was not yet twenty years old. In the Sixties he worked in numerous television series, including “Empire”, but his great success came thanks to the famous “Peyton Place”, a soap opera broadcast from 1964 to 1969, in which he was among the protagonists alongside Mia Farrow, Gena Rowlands and Dorothy Malone.
After some minor roles also in the field of feature films, his career changed completely with “Love Story”, Arthur Hiller’s tear-jerking cult film from 1970: the love story between his character and that of Ali MacGraw moved millions of viewers to tears. For his role in “Love Story” he was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe and won a David di Donatello for best foreign actor. Thanks to this performance he convinced great directors to call him, including Blake Edwards for a western that is now somewhat forgotten like “Wild Men” (1971).
With a face with regular features, but beautiful and impossible, O’Neal will become a symbol of New Hollywood by starring in two films by one of the greatest architects of the great revolution that took place in American cinema in those years, Peter Bogdanovich. The American director chose him for “Does Dad Send You Alone?” (1972), a sentimental comedy in which he stars alongside Barbra Streisand, and in the beautiful “Paper Moon” (1973), a black and white film in which he stars alongside his daughter Tatum, who was ten years old at the time and won for it role the Oscar for best supporting actress.
Farewell to Ryan O’Neal, unforgettable interpreter of «Barry Lyndon»
Photogallery 11 photos
However, the role of his life, for which he will always remain in the Olympus of cinema, came in 1975, when a certain Stanley Kubrick chose him to be the protagonist of one of his many masterpieces: “Barry Lyndon”. After two epochal works such as “ 2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) and “A Clockwork Orange” (1971), Kubrick changes genre and signs a period film based on a picaresque novel by William Makepeace Thackeray. O’Neal is perfect in the difficult role of an adventurer, an army deserter and then capable of climbing the social hierarchies until he marries a rich noblewoman who agrees to marry him and give him her surname.