Tatum O'Neal

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Tatum O'Neal
O'Neal in 2019
Tatum Beatrice O'Neal

(1963-11-05) November 5, 1963 (age 60)
Years active1973–present
(m. 1986; div. 1994)
Parent(s)Ryan O'Neal
Joanna Moore
RelativesGriffin O'Neal (brother)
Patrick O'Neal (half-brother)
AwardsAcademy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Paper Moon (1973)

Tatum Beatrice O'Neal (born November 5, 1963[1]) is an American actress. At the age of 10, she became the youngest person ever to win a competitive Academy Award, for her performance as Addie Loggins in Paper Moon co-starring her father, Ryan O'Neal. She later starred in the films The Bad News Bears, Nickelodeon, and Little Darlings, and appeared in guest roles in the television series Sex and the City, 8 Simple Rules, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Family background[edit]

O'Neal was born in the Westwood area of Los Angeles, California,[2] to actors Ryan O'Neal and Joanna Moore. Her brother, Griffin, was born in 1964. In 1967, her parents divorced[2] and her father quickly married actress Leigh Taylor-Young, together having Tatum's half-brother, Patrick. The two divorced in 1973. Tatum has another half-brother, Redmond, from Ryan O'Neal's relationship with actress Farrah Fawcett. O'Neal's mother died of lung cancer at age 63, after a career in which she appeared in such movies as Walk on the Wild Side and Follow That Dream. Her paternal ancestry is Irish, English, and Ashkenazi Jewish.[3][better source needed]


Young career[edit]

O'Neal in 1974, winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Paper Moon

On April 2, 1974,[4] at age ten, Tatum O'Neal won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress for her performance in Paper Moon, released in May 1973.[5] The youngest ever to win a competitive Academy Award,[2] she turned nine years old during filming in autumn 1972.[6][7] O'Neal played the role of Addie Loggins, a child con artist being tutored by a Depression-era grifter played by her father. In her 2010 appearance on RuPaul's Drag Race, O'Neal stated that her father had not attended the Academy Awards ceremony with her due to his busy schedule.

O'Neal starred in films such as The Bad News Bears (1976) with Walter Matthau, International Velvet (1978) with Christopher Plummer and Anthony Hopkins, and Little Darlings (1980) with Kristy McNichol, and co-starred in Nickelodeon (1976) with her father and in Circle of Two (1980) with Richard Burton.

She was cast in Split Image but had to be let go during filming because she was too young (seventeen) for night schools and was replaced by Karen Allen.[8] She appeared as the title character in the Faerie Tale Theatre episode "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" (1984).

Later career[edit]

O'Neal appeared in only five films during the next 15 years, one of them being Basquiat (1996) as Cynthia Kruger.

In the early 2000s, O'Neal returned to acting with guest appearances in Sex and the City, 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. In 2005, O'Neal began a recurring role as Maggie Gavin in the firehouse drama series Rescue Me, portraying the unbalanced and lively sister of Tommy Gavin, played by Denis Leary.

In January 2006, she participated in the second season of ABC's reality series Dancing with the Stars with professional partner Nick Kosovich. They were eliminated in the second round. She went on to do commentary for the series on Entertainment Tonight.

From 2006 to 2007, she portrayed the vindictive and psychotic Blythe Hunter in the MyNetworkTV drama Wicked Wicked Games. She appears opposite Nashawn Kearse and Vanessa Williams in the film My Brother (2007).

In 2008, she appeared in the Lifetime original film Fab Five: The Texas Cheerleader Scandal. The film is based on a true story which took place at McKinney North High School in Texas. She portrayed the mother of the main character, Brooke Tippit, and became close friends with the character's actress, Ashley Benson, whom she mentored in acting.[9]

In 2021, O'Neal appeared in the film Not To Forget (2021), which aimed to raise awareness and funds for the fight against Alzheimer's disease. The movie, directed by Valerio Zanoli, stars Karen Grassle and five Academy Award winners: O'Neal, Cloris Leachman, Louis Gossett Jr., George Chakiris, and Olympia Dukakis.

Personal life[edit]

Family and romantic relationships[edit]

One of O'Neal's first public boyfriends was Michael Jackson, whom she dated in the late 1970s. Jackson described O'Neal as his first love, and in a 2002 interview with Martin Bashir said that O'Neal tried to seduce him, but he was terrified by the idea of sex.[10] O'Neal adamantly denied all of Jackson's claims in her 2004 autobiography.[11]

O'Neal's relationship with tennis player John McEnroe began in 1984 when she moved into his Central Park West apartment in New York City.[12] They married in 1986.[2][13] The couple have three children: Kevin, Sean and Emily.[2] They separated in 1992 and were divorced in 1994.[2] Following the divorce, O'Neal's drug problems reemerged and she developed an addiction to heroin. As a result, McEnroe obtained custody of the children in 1998.[14]

In 2011, Tatum and her father began to restore their relationship after 25 years. Their reunion and reconciliation process was captured in the short-lived Oprah Winfrey Network series Ryan and Tatum: The O'Neals.[15][16][17] In 2015, she said she had begun dating women, while choosing not to identify herself as homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual, saying, "I'm not one or the other."[18]


On June 1, 2008, O'Neal was arrested for buying crack cocaine near her Manhattan apartment building.[19] When police searched her, they allegedly found two bags of drugs—one of crack cocaine, one of powder cocaine—and an unused crack pipe.[19] She was charged with a misdemeanor criminal possession of a controlled substance. Authorities released her without bail.[19] On July 2, 2008, O'Neal pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in connection with the arrest and agreed to spend two half-day sessions in a drug treatment program.[20]


In May 2020, O’Neal suffered a massive stroke caused by a prescription drug overdose. She was discovered unconscious by a friend, and the stroke left her in a coma for a month and a half. When she reawakened, she could not remember how to speak. She has since struggled to relearn everything.[21]


In her 2004 autobiography, A Paper Life, O'Neal alleged that she was molested by her father's drug dealer when she was 12. She also alleges physical and emotional abuse by her father, much of which she attributed to drug use. She also detailed her heroin addiction and its effects on her relationship with her children. Her father denied the allegations.[22] In a prepared statement, Ryan O'Neal said: "It is a sad day when malicious lies are told in order to become a 'bestseller.'"[22]

In 2011, O'Neal wrote a new collection of memoirs, Found: A Daughter's Journey Home, which dealt with her tempestuous relationship with her father, volatile marriage to McEnroe, and recent drug arrest.[23]

Published works[edit]

  • A Paper Life. ISBN 0-06-054097-4.
  • Found: A Daughter's Journey Home. ISBN 978-0062066565



Year Title Role Notes
1973 Paper Moon Addie Loggins Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Actress (tied with Barbra Streisand for The Way We Were)
Golden Globe Award for New Star Of The Year – Actress
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1976 The Bad News Bears Amanda Wurlitzer
Nickelodeon Alice Forsyte
1978 International Velvet Sarah Brown
1980 Circle of Two Sarah Norton
Little Darlings Ferris Whitney
1982 Prisoners Christie Unreleased
1985 Certain Fury Scarlet
1992 Little Noises Stella
1996 Basquiat Cynthia Kruger
2002 The Scoundrel's Wife Camille Picou US video title: The Home Front
San Diego Film Festival Award for Best Actress
2003 The Technical Writer Slim
2006 My Brother Erica
2008 Saving Grace B. Jones Grace B. Jones
2010 The Runaways Marie Harmon
Last Will Hayden Emery
2012 This Is 40 Realtor Cameo
2013 Mr. Sophistication Kim Waters
2015 Sweet Lorraine Lorraine Bebee
She's Funny That Way Waitress Cameo
2017 Rock Paper Dead Dr. Evelyn Bauer
2018 God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness Barbara Solomon
2019 The Assent Dr. Hawkins
2020 Troubled Waters Kim Waters
2021 Not to Forget Doctor


Year Title Role Notes
1984 Faerie Tale Theatre Goldilocks Episode: "Goldilocks and the Three Bears"
1989 CBS Schoolbreak Special Kim Episode: "15 and Getting Straight"
1993 Woman on the Run: The Lawrencia Bembenek Story Laurie Bembenek TV movie
2003 Sex and the City Kyra Episode: "A Woman's Right to Shoes"
2004 8 Simple Rules Ms. McKenna Episode: "Opposites Attract: Part 3: Night of the Locust"
Law & Order: Criminal Intent Kelly Garnett Episode: "Semi-Detached"
2005 Ultimate Film Fanatic Judge
2005–2011 Rescue Me Maggie Recurring role (Seasons 2–3, 5–7), Main role (Season 4); 39 episodes
2006 Dancing with the Stars Herself 5 episodes
Wicked Wicked Games Blythe Hunter 51 episodes
2008 Fab Five: The Texas Cheerleader Scandal Lorene Tippit TV movie
2010 RuPaul's Drag Race Herself Episode: "The Diva Awards"
2011 Ryan and Tatum: The O'Neals Herself
2015 Hell's Kitchen Herself Episode: "6 Chefs Compete"
2017 Criminal Minds Miranda White Episode: "Assistance Is Futile"
2018 Runaway Romance Veronica Adson TV movie

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tatum O'Neal on Britannica
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Tatum O'Neal Biography: Actress (1963–)". Biography.com (FYI / A&E Networks). Archived from the original on April 25, 2015. Retrieved May 27, 2015. Tatum O'Neal became the youngest winner of a competitive Academy Award in 1974, at age 10, receiving the best supporting actress honor for her work in 1973's Paper Moon.
  3. ^ Profile, familysearch.org; accessed June 22, 2014.
  4. ^ "The 46th Academy Awards: 1974". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on March 15, 2015. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  5. ^ Scott, Vernon (May 22, 1973). "Tatum is a natural star". Montreal Gazette. UPI. p. 24.
  6. ^ "Paper Moon being filmed". Windsor Star. October 13, 1972. p. 15.
  7. ^ Scott, Bill (November 16, 1972). "Inclement weather presents problem to movie makers". St. Joseph News-Press. p. 6A.
  8. ^ "Film Clips". The Los Angeles Times. May 8, 1981. p. 111.
  9. ^ "Ashley Benson: Learning New Things". myLifetime.com. Archived from the original on July 31, 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
  10. ^ "Fact Checking "Michael Jackson's Secret World" by Martin Bashir « Vindicating Michael". Vindicatemj.wordpress.com. April 28, 2011. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  11. ^ O'Neal, Tatum (2004). A Paper Life. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-054097-4.
  12. ^ Victor Bockris (June 1985). America's Couple. Spin. p. 71. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  13. ^ "John McEnroe discusses Tatum O'Neal in memoir". CNN. June 5, 2002. Archived from the original on August 27, 2011. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  14. ^ Phillips, Stone (October 15, 2004). "Tatum O'Neal Shares Survival Story: Part 2". Dateline NBC.
  15. ^ "'Ryan & Tatum' review: Estranged father and daughter actors reconnect on their OWN show". Daily News. New York City. June 18, 2011. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  16. ^ "Ryan and Tatum O'Neal open up on family feud". BBC News. June 16, 2011.
  17. ^ Sydney Morning Herald, "Ryan and Tatum: a loathe story," June 23, 2011
  18. ^ McNeil, Liz (May 27, 2015). "Tatum O'Neal: 'I'm Dating Women Now'". People.
  19. ^ a b c Alison Gendar; Bill Hutchinson (June 2, 2008). "Tatum O'Neal in crack bust". Daily News. New York City. Archived from the original on August 3, 2009. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
  20. ^ Maull, Samuel; Peltz, Jennifer (June 2, 2008). "Tatum O'Neal in New York Drug Bust". The Huffington Post. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
  21. ^ Abramovitch, Seth (July 17, 2023). "After Her Debilitating Stroke, Tatum O'Neal Attempts to Heal a Fractured Relationship With Dad Ryan O'Neal". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 17, 2023.
  22. ^ a b Siemaszko, Corky (October 13, 2006). "O'Yeah? Tatum's just lyin', sez Ryan". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on July 21, 2009. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
  23. ^ O'Neal, Tatum; Liftin, Hilary (2011). Found: A Daughter's Journey Home. New York City: William Morrow. ISBN 978-0-06-206656-5.

External links[edit]