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Ringside Report Puts The Spotlight on Ryan O’Neal

By Geoffrey Huchel

Charles Patrick Ryan O’Neal, known as Ryan O’Neal (born April 20, 1941) is an American actor. With 65 credits to his name he has become one of Hollywood’s favorite actors. Before his acting career took off, he trained to become a professional boxer, competing in two Golden Gloves championships in his native Los Angeles. He had a solid amateur fighting record of 18-4, 13 KO’s.

O’Neal began his acting career in 1960. He started out doing episodic television, making appearances on shows such as THE UNTOUCHABLES (1959), THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS (1960), LEAVE IT TO BEAVER (1957), LARAMIE (1959), MY THREE SONS (1960), EMPIRE (1962), in which he appeared in 31 episodes, as well as his long stint on PEYTON PLACE (1964), and PERRY MASON (1957).

Soon O’Neal made the transition to feature films. His first film role was in the drama THE BIG BOUNCE (1969), starring Leigh Taylor-Young (who he would later marry), followed by the drama THE GAMES (1970). It would be his next role that would catapult him into stardom. O’Neal costarred opposite Ali MacGraw in the drama LOVE STORY (1970). The film turned out to be a box office phenomenon. It made O’Neal a star and earned him a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Following the success of LOVE STORY, O’Neal’s next film was WIILD ROVERS (1971), a Western starring William Holden and Karl Malden. His next film was the comedy WHAT’S UP DOC? (1972). The film costarred the legendary Barbra Streisand and Madeline Kahn. O’Neal costarred with his daughter, Oscar Winner Tatum O’Neal for the comedy/drama PAPER MOON (1973), also starring Madeline Kahn. His next film was Stanley Kubrick’s drama BARRY LYNDON (1975).

O’Neal and his daughter Tatum would appear together in another film, the comedy NICKELODEON (1976), costarring Burt Reynolds and Brian Keith. O’Neal’s next film was the war drama A BRIDGE TOO FAR (1977). He costarred with some of Hollywood’s most popular leading men, including Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier. O’Neal finished the 1970’s with appearances in THE DRIVER (1978), with Bruce Dern and OLIVER’S STORY (1978), with Candice Bergen. O’Neal returned to his boxing roots for the romantic comedy THE MAIN EVENT (1979), again starring opposite Barbra Streisand.

Throughout the 1980s O’Neal turned in performances in the comedies PARTNERS (1982), and IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES (1984), with Shelley Long and a young Drew Barrymore, as well as the drama FEVER PITCH (1985) and the romantic comedy CHANCES ARE (1989), with Cybill Shepard and Robert Downey, JR. In the early 1990s he shifted to television, with roles on GOOD SPORTS (1991), starring Farrah Fawcett, THE MAN UPSTAIRS (1992), with Katharine Hepburn and a two episode arc on THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW (1992). He returned to features during the mid to late 1990s in FAITHFUL (1996), HACKS (1997) and ZERO EFFECT (1998), with Bill Pullman and Ben Stiller.

During the last decade O’Neal appeared in more TV work than on the big screen. He starred on the short-lived MISS MATCH with Alicia Silverstone and appeared in one episode of DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (2004) as well as multiple episodes of 90210 (2010) and BONES (2005).

In 2016, O’Neal reunited with LOVE STORY co-star Ali MacGraw in a staging of A. R. Gurney’s play Love Letters.






Essential O’Neal:


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