Tributes paid to Paper Moon and Love Story star Ryan O’Neal who has died aged 82

Actors Ryan O'Neal (left) and Farrah Fawcett Credit: AP

Hollywood star Ryan O’Neal has died “peacefully” at the age of 82, his son Patrick O’Neal announced.

The US actor starred in drama Peyton Place before rising to international stardom after his Oscar-nominated turn as Oliver in the romantic 1971 film Love Story, opposite Ali MacGraw.

He later starred in What’s Up, Doc? with Barbra Streisand, and Paper Moon, opposite his daughter Tatum, who won an Academy Award at the age of 10 for her performance.

“My dad passed away peacefully today, with his loving team by his side supporting him and loving him as he would us,” his son Patrick announced on Instagram.

“My father Ryan O’Neal has always been my hero. I looked up to him and he was always bigger than life. When I was born in 1967 my dad was already a TV star on Peyton Place.

“That’s where he met my mum Leigh Taylor-Young, and about nine months later (give or take a date night or two) I was born.

“My dad became an international movie star with Love Story at the beginning of the 1970s, a decade he absolutely crushed by starring in movies like What’s Up, Doc?, Paper Moon, Barry Lyndon, A Bridge Too Far, The Main Event, and The Driver.

“He is a Hollywood legend. Full stop.”

Patrick O'Neal (right) poses with his father, Ryan O'Neal. Credit: AP

Twice divorced, O'Neal was romantically involved with actress Farah Fawcett for nearly 30 years, and they had a son, Redmond, born in 1985.

The couple split in 1997, but reunited a few years later. He remained by Fawcett’s side as she battled cancer, until her death in 2009 at age of 62.

With his first wife, Joanna Moore, he fathered actors Griffin O'Neal and Tatum O'Neal, his co-star in the 1973 movie Paper Moon, for which she won an Oscar for best supporting actress.

He had his son Patrick with his second wife, Leigh Taylor-Young.

Ryan O'Neal kisses Ali MacGraw backstage during the 74th annual Academy Awards in 2002. Credit: AP

O’Neal was described as Hollywood’s “leading boy” following more than 500 episodes playing Rodney Harrington on hit drama Peyton Place.

During his career, he collaborated with director Peter Bogdanovich several times including on Paper Moon, What’s Up, Doc? and Nickelodeon in 1976.

Other notable credits include starring as Barry Lyndon in Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 film, and opposite Streisand in The Main Event – seven years after What’s Up, Doc?

US actors’ union Sag-Aftra said it was “saddened” to hear of O’Neal’s death, who had been a union member since 1959.

“A revered performer, he kicked off his career on Peyton Place, then found success in film with movies such as Love Story and What’s Up Doc?” a statement said.

The actor's cause of death is unknown but he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012, a decade after he was first diagnosed with chronic leukemia.

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