Ryan O’Neal had his breakthrough with the soap opera Peyton Place but he will always be known for his role of Oliver Barrett in what is considered one of the most famous romantic films ever made, Love Story.
The film follows the lives of Oliver, heir of an American upper-class East Coast family who studies at Harvard, and Jennifer “Jenny” Cavilleri, a quick-witted, working-class Radcliffe College student of classical music. Despite their different background the two fall in love despite his parents’ disapproval of their love and marriage.
Once married, they struggle financially to support Oliver’s dream to be part of Harvard, but he graduates third in his class and takes a position at a respectable New York City law firm. Sadly, just as they struggle to conceive, doctors tell Oliver that Jenny is terminally ill. He loses her, and her final wish is for him to embrace her tightly as she dies.
Unfortunately for actor Ryan O’Neal, this story didn’t only happen to be a movie plot, but his real life too.
Ryan had a long-lasting love affair with actress Farrah Fawcett, the star of Charlie’s Angels.
Farrah was married once. Her marriage to Lee Majors lasted for nine years. The divorce was finalized in 1982, but the couple separated a couple of years before that. Farrah then dated Ryan O’Neal for many years. He was a good friend of her husband. The two first met in 1979, and he though she was the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen.
“She’s delightful, full of childlike warmth,” Ryan wrote in his 2012 book Both of Us: My Life with Farrah. “There is no pretense or cattiness about her whatsoever, she’s vibrant and wholesome, refreshing in this town.”
He witnessed her marriage break down. “Farrah and I have no plans to marry — nor do we have plans to separate,” Ryan said. “Don’t fix what ain’t broken.”
Farrah and Ryan welcomed son Redmond O’Neal in 1985. In 1997, however, she caught him cheating with actress Leslie Ann Stefanso, and a year later, they split.
In 2001, Ryan O’Neal was diagnosed with leukemia and Farrah was diagnosed with cancer herself five years later. He spent all his time by her side and took care of her.
“The hair is gone,” he told People at the time.
“Her famous hair. I have it at home. She didn’t care. I rub her head. It’s kind of fun, actually, this great, tiny little head. How she carried all that hair, I’ll never know. She doesn’t have a vanity about it.
“It’s a love story. I just don’t know how to play this one. I won’t know this world without her. Cancer is an insidious enemy,” he added.
Sadly, great Farrah Fawcett passed away in 2009 in the arms of Ryan O’Neal.
Recently, the 81-year-old actor was spotted walking with the help of a cane. It is obvious that he has troubles navigating around. Ryan was seen strolling at a leisurely pace across the parking lot before arriving at his car, where he hopped into the passenger’s seat.
Besides overcoming his leukemia, Ryan was later diagnosed with prostate cancer. Close friends of him revealed to RadarOnline that “Ryan’s deteriorated to the point where it’s beyond hiding.”
“He’s lost weight and seems so frail and can’t walk without the help of a cane,” a source told the outlet.
However, no health issue he has ever experienced has been more painful than Farrah’s passing.
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Love and Peace