Tatum O’Neal Honors Late Dad Ryan O’Neal After His Death

"The Runaways" Los Angeles Premiere, Ryan O'Neal and Tatum O'Neal
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Tatum O’Neal is mourning the loss of her father, Ryan O’Neal, following this death.

“I feel great sorrow with my father’s passing,” Tatum, 60, told People on Friday, December 8, hours after Ryan’s passing was confirmed. “He meant the world to me. I loved him very much and know he loved me too. I’ll miss him forever and I feel very lucky that we ended on such good terms.”

Ryan’s eldest son, Patrick O’Neal, confirmed the actor’s death at age 82 earlier on Friday. “My dad passed away peacefully today with his loving team by his side supporting him and loving him as he would us,” he wrote via Instagram.

“My father Ryan O’Neal has always been my hero. I looked up to him and he was always bigger than life,” Patrick continued “When I was born in 1967 my dad was already a TV star on Peyton Place. That’s where he met my mom Leigh Taylor-Young, and about 9 months later (give or take a date night or two) I was born.”

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Patrick described his father as a “Hollywood legend. Full stop,” noting that the name Ryan “peaked” after he appeared in the 1970 film Love Story, which “saved Paramount Studios and earned my dad a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame.”

Patrick shared that Ryan was “so skilled at his craft, worked so hard and just loved acting plain and simple,” adding that he was “highly intelligent,” an “avid reader” and a “journal writer.” He concluded his message by saying that his dad lived “a kick-ass life” and “never bragged” but had “bragging rights in Heaven.”

He concluded the heartfelt tribute, “I’ll miss you dad. I love you. We love you.”

Farrah Fawcett Memorabilia Donation, Ryan and Tatum O'Neal
Paul Morigi / Getty

Ryan, who was known for his roles in Paper Moon, Love Story, Peyton Place, The Driver and more, was the father of four children: Tatum and son Griffin O’Neal, whom he welcomed with first wife Joanna Moore in 1963 and 1964, respectively; Patrick, 56, whom he shared with ex-wife Leigh Taylor-Young; and Redmond O’Neal, whom he welcomed with Farrah Fawcett in 1985. (Ryan and Farrah were romantically linked for 30 years until her death in 2009.)

Throughout his life, Ryan made headlines for his ups and downs with his children. He and Griffin, 59, got into infamous altercations in 1983 and 2007, while he was arrested with son Redmond, 38, in 2008 for alleged drug possession. He was also often estranged from Tatum as she faced her own battle with addiction.

“How would I feel if my father were to, say, get sick or die even? Would I be OK? And I realized that I wouldn’t be OK,” Tatum asked during a clip of the pair’s 2011 short-lived reality show, Ryan and Tatum: The O’Neals, according to CNN. “So I knew I needed to make an effort, because what is your life without your family? What’s your life without a father?”

The pair eventually reunited in September 2020 along with her three children — Kevin, 37, Sean, 36, and Emily, 32 — whom she shares with ex-husband John McEnroe.

“This is one of the most memorable photos of my life,” Sean wrote via Instagram at the time. “The last time we were all together was at the 30-year Paper Moon Anniversary in 2003. I could cry tears of gratitude that everyone in this photo is still alive and that we were all able to come together again after so many years of hardship. The entire West Coast is burning, but if the O’Neal can reconcile, truly anything is possible.”

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