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  1. ITV Report

Legendary photographer Terry O’Neill dies aged 81

  • Video report by ITV News Reporter Nick Wallis

Photographer Terry O’Neill has died at the age of 81.

Mr O’Neill, who rose to fame with his work with the Beatles and The Rolling Stones, died at home on Saturday following a long illness.

A spokesperson for Iconic Images, which represents his impressive archive of photographic work, said: “It is with a heavy heart that Iconic Images announces the passing of Terence “Terry” O’Neill, CBE.

“Terry was a class act, quick-witted and filled with charm.

“Anyone who was lucky enough to know or work with him can attest to his generosity and modesty.

“As one of the most iconic photographers of the last 60 years, his legendary pictures will forever remain imprinted in our memories as well as in our hearts and minds.”

Terry O'Neill photographed many famous faces. Credit: Iconic Images

One of his last major public appearances was when he collected his CBE for services to photography from the Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace in October.

After receiving his honour, Mr O’Neill, who had been suffering from prostate cancer and was in a wheelchair, said the award “surpasses anything I’ve had happen to me in my life”.

Terry O'Neill photographed the Queen and Prince Philip. Credit: Iconic Images

Mr O’Neill is one of the world’s most collected photographers with work hanging in national art galleries and private collections worldwide.

His images have burst out from iconic albums, movie posters and magazine covers and by 1965 he was being sought out for work by the biggest magazines and newspapers in the world.

Mr O’Neill was honoured with a CBE in October. Credit: PA

The Royal Photographic Society said he had grasped that the youth culture of the 1960s was a key moment in time globally and he began to record the new faces in film, fashion and music who would go on to become megastars.

"I think Terry hit the zeitgeist at exactly the right moment, he got interested in photography in the 50s and Britain was changing at that time, popular culture was coming to the fore," Michael Pritchard, Director of Education at the Royal Photographic Society, said.

"He just managed to capture the essence of what was happening in society and popular culture, through music, theatre, cinema and he was able to record that and produce images that have really stood the test of time."

His work that captures the Swinging Sixties includes The Beatles and The Rolling Stones when they were still struggling young bands along with David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and Chuck Berry.

Film stars such as Sir Michael Caine and Raquel Welch remained lifelong friends.

The Queen and former South African president Nelson Mandela have posed for portraits from Mr O’Neill and striking images of former prime minister Sir Winston Churchill are also among his archive.

Terry O'Neill photographed Nelson Mandela. Credit: Iconic Images

Footballers Bobby Moore, Franz Beckenbauer, Pele, George Best, manager Brian Clough, boxer Muhammad Ali and Pakistani cricketer and politician Imran Khan are among the sporting greats whom he has captured.

Mr O’Neill’s work reads like a who’s who in music, film, and celebrity which helped to visually define the 1960s ranging from Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Terence Stamp, Jean Shrimpton, Tom Jones, and Frank Sinatra through to singers Bruce Springsteen, Amy Winehouse and U2 in recent decades.

Terry O'Neill's 60-year career saw him photograph Winston Churchill. Credit: Iconic Images

Iconic Images also point out that Mr O’Neill was also one of the first photographers to work with a new franchise starring actor Sean Connery as James Bond.

Mr O’Neill went on to work on several Bond films throughout the decades, including several with Sir Roger Moore.