Is Ryan O'Neal Dying? Family And Friends Claim His Health's Deteriorating, Has Nothing To Live For

It was a family affair.

Is Ryan O'Neal Dying? Friends Say He Health Is Failing And Has Little To Live For Getty

Is Ryan O'Neal dying?

Legendary actor Ryan O’Neal reunited with his family for the first time in nearly 17 years, according to an Instagram caption posted by his grandson, Sean McEnroe, on Sept. 13. “This is one of the most memorable photos of my life. The last time we were all together was at the 30-year Paper Moon Anniversary in 2003,” Sean wrote in a heartfelt caption on the social media platform. “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’Neals can reconcile, truly anything is possible.”


Sean's reunion pic of his family garnered a lot of attention on social media, however, some fans are wondering if the family decided to reconcile because of Ryan O'Neal's declining health. 


A post shared by Sean McEnroe (@sean__mcenroe) on Sep 13, 2020 at 9:52am PDT

Who is Ryan O’Neal?

While Ryan O'Neal is an acting legend, he's also legendary for his history of excess. He was known for his partying ways, his infidelity to the women he loved, and his profligate use of drugs. In 2009, he lost the love of his life when Farrah Fawcett passed away and he's struggled with health issues in the years since then.


RELATED: Bizarre Details Surrounding Redmond O'Neal's Arrest & The Violent Crime Spree He Blames On Mom, Farrah Fawcett & Dad, Ryan O'Neal

Now his friends report his health is failing and he feels like he has nothing left to live for. He has grown weak and has to use a cane when he walks. He is seldom seen in public anymore and he hasn't been able to act since he wrapped up his role in the series Bones in 2017.

To make matters worse, his youngest son, Redmond, has been institutionalized in a mental health facility after a crime spree in 2018 got him arrested on charges of attempted murder. Redmond O'Neal was found mentally incompetent at the time and the family's trying to figure out what will be next for the troubled man.


Ryan O'Neal's acting career really kicked off with Love Story

O'Neal, who was born in 1941, started out as an amateur boxer but walked away from that sport when he discovered acting. His father was a television writer and through his connections, O'Neal got his first chance on-screen working as a stand-in. In 1960, he moved to LA to pursue an acting career and had a lot of luck working in television. He appeared in guest roles on shows like My Three Sons, Leave It To Beaver, and Perry Mason before landing a regular role on the nighttime soap Peyton Place. His first major film role was in Love Story, where he started opposite Allie McGraw. O'Neal won accolades as the rich boy who was cut off from his family when he decides to marry a poor girl for love. Instead of the happy ending that the struggling couple deserves, the movie shattered audiences' hearts when McGraw's character dies, leaving O'Neal alone and devastated. 

He was a notorious womanizer.

As a heartthrob in the 1970s, it's no surprise O'Neal went from relationship to relationship. He married Joanne Moore in 1963, but the couple split in 1967 after having two children: Tatum and Griffin. Moore later lost custody of the kids to O'Neal due to her issues with drugs and alcohol. In 1967, he remarried actress Leigh-Taylor Young. They had a son named Patrick before divorcing in 1973. He allegedly had relationships with a number of major Hollywood stars, including Ursula Andress, Bianca Jagger, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, and Anjelica Huston.

"I got married at 21, and I was not a real mature 21 [year-old]," said O'Neal of his romantic life back then. "My first child was born when I was 22. I was a man's man; I didn't discover women until I was married, and then it was too late."

His three eldest children have all battled their own addictions and at times, he's been estranged from each of them. He admitted to his failings as a father, saying, "I'm a hopeless father. I don't know why. I don't think I was supposed to be a father. Just look around at my work — they're either in jail or they should be." 


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The real love of Ryan O'Neal's life was Farrah Fawcett.

O'Neal met Fawcett though her husband Lee Majors in 1979. The Six Million Dollar Man star was headed out of town to film and asked O'Neal to check in on his wife, suggesting O'Neal “take Farrah to dinner one night while I’m gone, because she’ll be lonely,” according to O’Neal. That night started a love affair that would last until Fawcett's death in 2009. “We’ve been lovers ever since,” O’Neal recalled. “Even when we were mad at each other, we spoke every day.”

The pair never married but they had son, Redmond, together in 1985. They continued their Hollywood romance until 1997 when Fawcett caught O'Neill cheating on her with Leslie Stefanson. Fawcett literally walked in on the two of them in bed and then she left O'Neal.

But in 2001, he received a diagnosis of chronic leukemia and she came back to help care for him. They rebuilt their relationship at that time. “We started over again, and this time we built it in a way that had foundation and trust. Farrah had her home here, and I had my home at the beach, and she would only come on the weekends," O'Neal said. "Our son was happy. And Farrah was mature. She didn’t get mad at me so easily. I had missed her.”



A post shared by (@farrah_fawcett_majors) on Dec 2, 2019 at 10:20am PST

O'Neal and Fawcett in 1982. 

Fawcett passed away in 2009. 

Their love story came to an end in 2009 when Fawcett died after a long battle with cancer. After her initial diagnosis in 2006, the Charlie's Angels star used conventional medicine for treatment, including chemo and radiation, but later sought more experimental treatments for the disease. Ultimately, the aggressive cancer could not be stopped and Fawcett passed away at the age of 62. 


Fawcett and O'Neal's son Redmond is extremely troubled. 

Even as she was dying, Fawcett was worried about her son with O'Neal. Redmond O'Neal had been in trouble due to drugs for years. “He has addictions he can’t control; he goes to sleep in his food. This is not a privileged guy," O'Neal said of his youngest child. "He never had any money; he never had a car; he never had a driver’s license. He’s never been out [of jail] for a year because whatever he did, he got caught. He got arrested in prison with heroin in his pocket! So many arrests, the poor, stupid boy! He’s not a thug; he doesn’t know how to be. He’s just a sap, and he knows it. He’s been in rehabs all over the United States and Mexico. We’re just thankful he doesn’t have H.I.V.”

Most recently, Redmond was arrested in 2018 for a drug-fueled crime spree that included attempting to rob a convenience store. Because he used a knife, the charges include assault with a deadly weapon as well as drug charges based on possession of drugs and paraphernalia at the time. Later, he was ruled incompetent to stand trial due to multiple diagnoses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. He was transferred to a state mental facility for treatment until he is competent to face up to his crimes. 

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Is Ryan O'Neal's health deteriorating?

O'Neal had still been working as an actor until 2017. He had been making regular appearances on the series Bones until it wrapped in 2017, but since then, he hasn't been cast in anything new. Now friends say that his health is declining as well. In addition to his chronic leukemia, he has suffered from prostate cancer, heart problems, and diabetes. A friend has told reporters that his ailments and age are catching up with him. “Ryan’s deteriorated to the point where it’s beyond hiding,” a friend told reporters. “He’s lost weight and seems so frail and can’t walk without the help of a cane.”

The emotional toll of losing the love of his life has been significant as well. “Besides stumbling out to the beach to watch the sunset, he doesn’t have anything to look forward to,” the source said. “Acting and Farrah were his two passions in life and they’re both gone.”

While no one is citing a specifics diagnosis, they do worry the aging heartthrob may not have much time. 

RELATED: Bizarre Details Surrounding Redmond O'Neal's Arrest & The Violent Crime Spree He Blames On Mom, Farrah Fawcett & Dad, Ryan O'Neal


Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. She is the creator of the blog FeminXer and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.