Actor Who Starred in “Love Story” Dies at 82

Actor Who Starred in "Love Story" Dies at 82

( – Television and film actor Ryan O’Neal rose to stardom playing the leading male role in the 1970 blockbuster film “Love Story” alongside female lead and love interest Ali MacGraw. Sadly, the Los Angeles native recently died at 82.

On December 9, the actor’s youngest son, Patrick O’Neal, announced his father’s death on Instagram. He devoted most of the statement to thanking the several close family friends who stood by O’Neal for decades. Noting the difficulty with facing the “huge void” in their lives accompanying his father’s passing, the younger O’Neal mentioned the actor’s two beloved dogs, Raven and Mozart.

Patrick vowed “to share [his] father’s legacy forever, adding that he wouldn’t be deterred by negative chatter circulated by “outside voices,” in an acknowledgment of the years of controversy surrounding O’Neal’s rumored hot temper. He also said he would call out anyone who talked “s*** about my dad.”

Continuing, Patrick highlighted some of his father’s achievements, stating that he lived a “kick a** life.” For instance, he spoke of the time his father defeated boxing legend “Smokin’ Joe Frasier” during a two-round match aired on national television in 1966. Former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali provided on-air commentary during that match. O’Neal trained as an amateur boxer before he launched his acting career in 1960.

Patrick also paid homage to his father’s longtime romantic relationship with Farah Fawcett. The two never married but dated off-and-on for nearly 20 years until the actress’ 2009 death. The couple had a son named Redmond James Fawcett O’Neal in 1985. Noting that his father “missed her terribly,” Patrick wrote of their reunion and opportunity to embrace once again in the afterlife.

No cause of death or location was cited in Patrick’s statement. However, he thanked his father’s longtime physician, Dr. Lawrence Piro, MD, a California-based hematologist and oncologist. O’Neal was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia in 2001. Then, in 2012, he announced that he was suffering from stage four prostate cancer, although he later claimed it was only in its second stage.

O’Neal is survived by Patrick and Redmond, as well as Tatum and Griffin O’Neal from his first wife and film and television actress Joanna Moore. Patrick’s mother was O’Neal’s “Peyton Place” co-star and second wife, Leigh Taylor-Young.

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