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Ryan O’Neal is an Oscar-nominated actor known for films like Love Story, What’s Up, Doc?, Barry Lyndon and The Main Event.
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Born on April 20, 1941, Ryan O’Neal worked as a boxer before getting into acting, starring in the ‘60s soap Peyton Place. His role in Love Story earned him an Oscar nod and he’s starred in a host of other films, including Barry Lyndon, Paper Moon, What’s Up, Doc? and The Main Event, the latter two co-starring Barbara Streisand. O’Neal had a long-term relationship with actress Farrah Fawcett.
Actor Patrick Ryan O'Neal was born on April 20, 1941, in Los Angeles, California. He was born into show business as the son of writer, Charles "Blackie" O'Neal, and actress Patricia Callaghan. Determined to follow his own path, O'Neal trained to become a professional boxer, competing in two Golden Gloves championships in Los Angeles in 1956 and 1957. He had an impressive amateur fighting record—18 wins to 4 losses, with 13 knockouts.
In the late 1950s, O'Neal and his family moved to Germany for his father's job writing broadcasts for Radio Free Europe. O'Neal finished up his schooling at the Munich American High School, graduating in 1959. His parents helped him land his first job in the entertainment industry as a stuntman on the German television series Tales of the Vikings, which his parents were working on.
O'Neal returned to the United States to try his luck in Hollywood. In 1962, he landed a supporting role in the television western Empire. The show only lasted a season, but more parts soon followed. O'Neal made guest appearances on such shows as The Virginian, Perry Mason, and Wagon Train before getting a role on the groundbreaking prime-time soap opera Peyton Place in 1964.
Peyton Place, based on the best-selling novel by Grace Metalious, explored the darker side of several families living in a suburban New England town. It was a huge hit with television audiences, and its popularity helped launch O'Neal's career and the career of cast member Mia Farrow.
O'Neal's personal life seemed much like the soap opera he starred in. In the early 1960s, O'Neal married actress Joanna Moore. The couple had two children together: a daughter named Tatum in 1963 and son Griffin in 1964. They split up a few years later, divorcing in 1967. That same year, O'Neal married for the second time. He wed actress Lee Taylor-Young with whom he had a son Patrick. O'Neal and Taylor-Young also divorced soon after.
After Peyton Place ended in 1969, O'Neal moved on to feature films. He landed the lead in 1969's The Big Bounce, starring opposite his wife Lee in a film adaptation of the novel by Elmore Leonard. It proved to be a box-office disappointment, but his next effort, 1970's Love Story, turned out to be a great success. He played Oliver Barrett IV, beating out 300 other performers for the role. O'Neal starred opposite Ali McGraw in this romantic tearjerker about a young man who turns his back on his wealth to marry the woman he loves, only to lose her to a terminal illness.
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