Tatum ONeal

Tatum O'Neal

Tatum Beatrice O'Neal (born November 5, 1963 in Los Angeles, California) is an Academy Award-winning American actress best known for her film work as a child actress in the 1970s. She remains the youngest actor, at the age of 10, to win a contended Oscar.


Tatum O'Neal was born into the motion picture family of actor Ryan O'Neal and actress Joanna Cook Moore. Her brother, Griffin, was born in 1964. In 1967, her parents divorced. Her father married actress Leigh Taylor-Young, a marriage which produced her half-brother, Patrick. She also has another half-brother, Redmond, from Ryan O'Neal's relationship with actress Farrah Fawcett. Tatum's mother died in 1997 of lung cancer at age 63, after a career in which she had appeared in such movies as Touch of Evil.

A Paper Life

In her autobiography, "A Paper Life", Tatum O'Neal alleged that she had been molested by a male friend of her father. Tatum also alleges physical and emotional abuse from her father, much of which she attributes to drug use. In the book, Tatum also details her own heroin addiction and its effects on her relationship with her children.


In 1974, Tatum O'Neal became the youngest person ever to win a contended Academy Award, a record that still stands as of 2008. She 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. O'Neal played the role of Addie Loggins, a child con artist being tutored by a Depression-era grifter played by her father, Ryan. She was 10 years old at the time she won the award.

Other movies in which O'Neal appeared include The Bad News Bears, Nickelodeon, International Velvet, and Little Darlings. She appeared as the title character in the Faerie Tale Theatre episode Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Her acting career took a backseat to her marriage to John McEnroe, the professional tennis player, for many years, but in 2005 she began a recurring role as Maggie Gavin on the firehouse drama series Rescue Me, portraying the unbalanced and lively sister of Tommy Gavin, played by Denis Leary. O'Neal's character is married to a firefighter in her brother's firehouse.

In January 2006, she participated in the second season of ABC's reality series Dancing with the Stars but was eliminated in the second round. She went on to do commentary for the series on Entertainment Tonight.

From 2006 to early 2007, Tatum starred as the vindictive and psychotic Blythe Hunter in the My Network TV prime-time drama Wicked Wicked Games. She appears opposite Nashawn Kearse and Vanessa L. Williams in the Liberty Artists feature film My Brother (2007).

Personal life

O'Neal describes her upbringing as chaotic, with her mother battling drug and alcohol problems and neglecting the care of her and her brother Griffin, while her father was absent and prone to abusive outbursts of temper. After her parents divorced, Ryan O'Neal obtained custody and Tatum was exposed to his celebrity, bachelor lifestyle, as well as his temper.

O'Neal writes in her autobiography that when she was 13, her father took her and her friend Melanie Griffith on a trip to Europe, where she caught him having sex with Griffith in their hotel room. She also claims that when her father left for a movie shoot, she smoked opium with Griffith and then invited a male hairdresser and his girlfriend to their hotel room where the four of them participated in an orgy that Griffith had dragged her into.

Also in her autobiography, O'Neal says she had a brief makeout session with Michael Jackson, who left because he got too nervous. He told the press, years later, that she was his first love. They continued a relationship that ended in 1979 when her manager told her it would be unacceptable for her to be with a black man.

In 1986, O'Neal married tennis superstar John McEnroe. No one from her family attended the ceremony. The couple had three children: Kevin, , Sean, , and Emily, , then split in December 1992 and divorced in 1994. Following the divorce, O'Neal's drug problems re-emerged and she developed an addiction to heroin. As a result of her drug problems, McEnroe obtained custody of the children in 1998. On June 1, 2008, she was arrested for allegedly buying crack cocaine near her Manhattan apartment building. When police searched her, they allegedly found two bags of drugs—one with crack, one with regular cocaine—and an unused crack pipe. She was charged with a misdemeanor, criminal possession of a controlled substance. Authorities released her without bail.

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. If she completes those sessions and pays a fine by September 4, 2008, the charge against O'Neal will be dismissed.


Motion pictures
Year Film Role Other notes
1973 Paper Moon Addie Loggins Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Golden Globe
1976 The Bad News Bears Amanda Whurlizer
Nickelodeon Alice Forsyte
1978 International Velvet Sarah Brown
1980 Circle of Two Sarah Norton
Little Darlings Ferris
1981 Prisoners Christie (never released)
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
2003 The Technical Writer Slim
2006 My Brother Erica
2008 Saving Grace Grace
Fab Five: The Texas Cheerleader Scandal Lorene Tippit
Year Title Role Notes
1984 Faerie Tale Theatre Goldilocks "Goldilocks and the Three Bears"
1989 CBS Schoolbreak Special Kim "15 and Getting Straight"
1993 Woman on the Run: The Lawrencia Bembenek Story Lawrencia Bembenek
2003 Sex and the City Kyra "A Woman's Right to Shoes"
2004 8 Simple Rules Ms. McKenna "Opposites Attract: Part 3: Night of the Locust"
Law and Order: Criminal Intent Kelly Garnett "Semi-Detached"
2005 Ultimate Film Fanatic judge
Rescue Me Maggie cast member, 2005 to present
2006 Dancing with the Stars Herself 5 episodes
Wicked Wicked Games Blythe Hunter 51 episodes



  • Tatum O'Neal autobiography: A Paper Life - ISBN 0-06-054097-4.

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