Vanity Fair: Ryan O’Neal & Farrah Fawcett were Brangelina of 1970s

Vanity Fair’s September issue will be a dual cover – I don’t know if they’re going to issue two different magazines with two different covers, or if they’re going to put Farrah Fawcett on one side, and Michael Jackson on the other. The photos VF chose are lovely, for both stars, and the images mimic the other. Black-and-white photographs of Michael holding himself, circa 1989, then Farrah naked, embracing herself, circa 1976.

Vanity Fair has released an excerpt from Leslie Bennetts’ sort-of tribute to Farrah, “Beautiful People, Ugly Choices”. It doesn’t really seem so much a tribute as a “tell-all” about Farrah and Ryan O’Neal, with a lot of stories about drug usage, cancer, menopause and infidelity. Leslie Bennets even calls Farrah and Ryan “the Angelina and Brad of their day—dazzling sex symbol meets Hollywood hunk—until their stars were tarnished by drugs, infidelity, and family pathology.” Yikes. Here are some of the excerpts from the piece:

The truth was that Fawcett had always been more complicated than the clichés, the realities of her life far darker than the sunny image she projected. The gap between her public image and private reality was wide: “I’m always more comfortable when I have on hardly any make-up, my hair is brown and I’m very unattractive,” she said.

The work that brought her solace in later years was a love of art that had nothing to do with fame, a private passion that inspired her to sculpt female nudes with an obsessiveness that seemed like an attempt to understand the world’s fascination with her own body. The documentary [Farrah’s World] that became her last appearance violated every rule of Hollywood image-making; no other star had ever exposed herself to a viewing audience while moaning in pain, vomiting, and losing her famous hair to chemotherapy. But Fawcett’s final triumph was to integrate the public and the private at long last, imbuing her death with a larger meaning and finding redemption in baring her head along with her soul.

The Break-up: O’Neal cites several reasons for his breakup with Fawcett, starting with menopause. “I believe Farrah was going through some kind of life change,” he says. “I didn’t have a change of life. I was always a jerk. But they’re hard work, these divas; I was sick of it, and I was unappreciated. I just don’t think she liked me very much. So I excused myself, and I was lucky enough to meet this young girl. She was more a daughter to me than a lover, and my own daughter had flown the coop, so here was this replacement.”

Leslie Stefanson, a beautiful actress less than half his age, may have been a daughter substitute, but she and O’Neal were in bed together at his Malibu home when Fawcett made a surprise Valentine’s Day visit and walked in on them. “It was terrible,” O’Neal says. “I didn’t expect to see her down there. I tried to put my pants on, but I put both legs in one hole.”

Ryan being a “hopeless father”: “I had just put the casket in the hearse and I was watching it drive away when a beautiful blonde woman comes up and embraces me,” Ryan told me. “I said to her, ‘You have a drink on you? You have a car?’ She said, ‘Daddy, it’s me—Tatum!’ I was just trying to be funny with a strange Swedish woman, and it’s my daughter. It’s so sick.”

“That’s our relationship in a nutshell,” Tatum said when I asked her about it. “You make of it what you will.” She sighed. “It had been a few years since we’d seen each other, and he was always a ladies’ man, a bon vivant.”

[From Vanity Fair]

Yikes, Ryan hit on his daughter. That does sum up their relationship, doesn’t it? But it was certainly nice that Tatum came to Farrah’s funeral – the two women had a famously rocky relationship. Well done, Tatum.

As far as the Michael Jackson cover story, I’ve only skimmed it. I’m sure there are some juicy stories and never-before-told stories, but I think the Michael Jackson news has jumped the shark. Larry King won’t let anything go, and I’m so tired of seeing all of Michael’s sycophants now making the rounds on cable and network news. Here’s the excerpt from the Michael Jackson story, “The Boy Who Would Be King”, if you’re not too tired of this stuff.

Vanity Fair covers via CoverAwards. Header image is supposedly circa 1991. Credit:


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17 Responses to “Vanity Fair: Ryan O’Neal & Farrah Fawcett were Brangelina of 1970s”

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  1. Firestarter says:

    Ryan O’Neil is a disgusting excuse for a human being. He is NOT funny, nor charming, nor refreshingly honest, he is just a sick old man who was a one and a half hit wonder in the movie industry. He should be ashamed of himself for his behavior and comments at his dead lovers’s funeral. What a scum bag he is.

  2. Gloaming says:

    Agreed Firestarter!
    I read snippets of that Ryan O’Neal interview earlier and I’m still disturbed by it.

    Mainly Tatum’s comments on him hitting on her and she said it summed up their relationship – “make of that what you will” seemed to me that she’s hinting at something more.
    I only say that because Rosanna Arquette said on a documentary about Tatum that she and her father (and i use that word in the loosest sense) arrived at a party in Hollywood hand in hand and he kept kissing Tatum on the mouth. Rosanna said it was as if they were dating.
    There were far more explosive things said by him in VF than stated here. And the way he spoke of his children was disgusting.

  3. clare says:

    Poor Tatum. Poor Redmond, off in jail.

  4. susan says:

    Farrah and Michael have the same chin in these pics

  5. JohnnieR says:

    While Ryan having in his head that hitting on a woman – after loading Farrah’s casket into the hearse and watching it drive away – is WTF disturbing and vomit-inducing enough, the fact that it was TATUM who he hit on makes me lose my breakfast.

    This, ladies and gentleman, is the quintessential Hollywood douchebag extraordinaire.

    You know, I have always had a soft spot for Tatum. I grew up with a major crush on her (“Little Darlings”, “International Velvet”) and it wasn’t until I read her EXCELLENT bio, ‘Paper Life’ that I realized that she and her siblings never had a fair shot at life. Is it any wonder WHY Redmond is in his current situation? Tatum, in many ways, has pulled her bootstraps up – sadly, she still has addiction issues to sort out. I wish her and Redmond all the best.

    Her bio is also perhaps the BEST look at the 70’s Hollywood scene that I have ever read.

  6. hmm says:

    I read more detailed excerpts at HuffPo and Ryan is a truly disgusting human being and the way he talks about his two older children is horrific.

  7. JohnnieR says:

    Kudos to Farrah for not leaving Ryan a dime in her will – me thinks she had his true telephone number.

    And, is it just me, or does Alana Stewart rub anyone else the wrong way?
    There’s SOMETHING about this woman just just never smelled right with me.
    Farrah’s supposedly best friend is now planning on penning a tell-all book about Farrah’s ordeal, with SOME of the profits going to cancer research.

    All I can say is, thank God Farrah at least had Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith around for plenty of visits while she was ill.

  8. YT says:

    Ryan O’Neal must be proud of his poor behavior since he finds it necessary to tell the press all the details. Could it be that he has been on drugs so long that there are few brain cells left? If not, he is just stupid for running his mouth.

  9. Taya says:

    I truly believe that Ryan did try or did something sexual to Tatum when she was little. He is that sick. Ryan just oozes the look of a pedophile to me. He is disgusting.

    I always liked Tatum and thought that she deserved a better life for her and her brothers and I hope that she has some peace in her life. Great actress.

  10. Tess says:

    Just a very superficial comment here: Gawd, they were fabulous looking.

    Just naturally gorgeous in a way that diminishes the rather synthetic looking Brangelina.

  11. jennifer says:

    He is so gross 🙁

  12. C-DUB says:

    She was my favorite Angel! R.I.P

  13. Jane says:

    I have been saying that too Johnnie! I thought I was the only one. One time, on ET, my mom was watching and I watched it with her, and this class act Alana started promoting a jewelry line her friend was staring, right after she talked about Farrah dying. She is disgusting.

  14. dirty martini says:

    Ryan and Farrah were–without question–beautiful human specimens.

    ALl one can do is look at pictures of them in the 70s ad stare with mouths agape. Branglina doesn’t touch their physical beauty.

    But the sorrowful reality is…….Brangelina are finer human beings. THey use their extreme celebrity for good and the benefit of others where they can.

    I do not — on any day at any time — even begin to picture Brad hitting on Shiloh at Angelinas funeral.

    I do not doubt RYan mindlessly and stupidly hitting on his own daughter in complete and utter ignorance.

    Its beyond depraved.

  15. Bobby the K says:


    She knew what he was like, but kept him in her life anyway.

    A lot of women love jerks, and most jerks know that, and play it up.

  16. Carmen says:

    They’re comparable as far as the attention they generate, but there’s a few distinct differences. Farrah was a sweetheart and everyone loved her and thought Ryan was a pig.

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