Ryan O’Neal, ‘Paper Moon’ and ‘Love Story’ actor, dies at 82

Ryan O’Neal, the famed actor who sprang onto the scene with his starring role in “Love Story” in the early 1970s, has died, his son said. He was 82.

O’Neal died Friday, according to an Instagram post by his son, Patrick O’Neal, whom he shared with his second wife, Leigh Taylor-Young.

“So this is the toughest thing I’ve ever had to say but here we go,” Patrick O’Neal wrote. “My dad passed away peacefully today, with his loving team by his side supporting him and loving him as he would us.”

O’Neal was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia in 2001 and was later diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012. The cause of death was unclear.

Patrick O’Neal wrote that his father was a “Hollywood legend.”

“When I was born in 1967 my dad was already a TV star on ‘Peyton Place.’ That’s where he met my mom Leigh Taylor-Young,” Patrick O’Neal said.

He noted his father’s rise to international stardom with “Love Story” and mentioned a slew of other movies O’Neal starred in throughout his decadeslong career: “What’s Up, Doc?,” “Paper Moon,” “Barry Lyndon,” “A Bridge Too Far,” “The Main Event” and “The Driver.”

O’Neal starred in “500 shows over 5 years,” Patrick O’Neal wrote, including playing Rodney Harrison on “Peyton Place” three days a week.

Patrick O’Neal credits the “growth spurt of the first name Ryan” to his dad: “That’s a fact,” he said.

“Then of course the name Ryan peaked after ‘Love Story’ (the film that saved Paramount Studios and earned my dad a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame),” Patrick O’Neal wrote.

Rehearsals for 43rd Annual Academy Awards
Ryan O’Neal in Los Angeles, in 1974.Ron Galella, Ltd. / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images file

The Hollywood Walk of Fame said in a statement that flowers would be placed on O’Neal’s star today to honor the actor.

O’Neal’s star, which he got in 2021, is next to that of Ali MacGraw, his “Love Story” co-star, “and also next to the star of the love of his life Farrah Fawcett,” said Ana Martinez, producer of the Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremonies, in the statement.

In addition to his accolade on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, O’Neal earned Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for “Love Story,” as well as a Golden Globe nomination for “Paper Moon.”

O’Neal dated actress Farrah Fawcett from 1979 to 1997, breaking up only to rekindle their relationship four years later in 2001. They were together until Fawcett’s death in 2009.

An account representing the late Stanley Kubrick, who directed “Barry Lyndon,” said on the social media platform X that they were “deeply saddened to hear that the Oscar nominated, 60-year acting veteran” had died. “To us he will always be remembered as the loveable cad Barry Lyndon.”

Barbra Streisand, who starred alongside O’Neal in “What’s Up, Doc?” and “The Main Event,” said she was sad to hear the news of O’Neal’s death.

“He was funny and charming, and he will be remembered,” she said on X.