Ryan O'Neal, Love Story Actor, Dead At 82

"Love Story" actor Ryan O'Neal has died at the age of 82. TMZ reports that O'Neal's son, Patrick, shared the news of the actor's death on social media. "So this is the toughest thing I've ever had to say but here we go," he wrote. "My dad passed away peacefully today, with his loving team by his side supporting him and loving him as he would us." 

O'Neil had quite an incredible career. The "Peyton Place" actor started out as a boxer before becoming a stuntman in the early '60s. He transitioned to acting, but his big break wouldn't come until he landed the role of Rodney Harrington on the soap opera "Peyton's Place." From then on, O'Neal's career skyrocketed as he took on the world of film with movies like "Love Story," which earned him an Oscar nomination. He had an incredible career that will be remembered for years. 

Ryan O'Neal had a career of highs and lows

After his Oscar-winning role in "Love Story," Ryan O'Neal starred in a number of high-profile movies throughout the 1970s, including Stanley Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon," Water Hill's "The Driver," and three comedies with director Peter Bogdanovich — "What's Up, Doc?," "Paper Moon," and "Nickelodeon." In "Paper Moon," he starred alongside his real-life daughter Tatum O'Neal, in a performance that made her the youngest person ever to win an Academy Award at the age of 10. 

That project and its aftermath was something of a catalyst for a troubled relationship over the decades that followed, with father and daughter frequently going years without speaking. As detailed in a 2023 Hollywood Reporter profile, Tatum later made numerous accusations of abuse (which her father denied), though they both made several efforts to reconcile in recent years.

O'Neal's most high-profile romantic relationship was with actress Farrah Fawcett. The pair were an item from 1979 to 1997, and reunited in 2001. They remained together until her death from cancer in 2009. O'Neal made the comparison to his famous "Love Story" role, a man who loses his wife to cancer. "It's a love story. I just don't know how to play this one," he told People Magazine. "I won't know this world without her."

In 2012, O'Neal announced he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. In a statement at the time (via Today), the actor wrote, "I am deeply grateful for the support of my friends and family during this time, and I urge everyone to get regular check-ups, as early detection is the best defense against this horrible disease that has afflicted so many."