Table of Contents
- Redmond O’Neal, Ryan and Farrah’s son, accused of homophobic attack in new lawsuit
- Redmond O’Neal’s multiple felony charges
- He has a past of run-ins with the law
- Farrah Fawcett’s Son, Redmond, Sued for Stabbing Man in the Skull with a ‘Spike’
- Farrah Fawcett to marry Ryan O’Neal ‘on death bed’
- Biography Newsletters
- Big Break
- 10 Years After Farrah Fawcett Died, Ryan O’Neal Says, ‘There Was Never a Day I Didn’t Love Her’
- Redmond O’Neal, son to Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O’Neal, charged with attempted murder
- What Really Killed Farrah Fawcett?
- Farrah Fawcett, Charlie’s Angels actress and Playboy model, died in 2009 after battling anal cancer for roughly three years.
- Her friends told People that her last words before her death were about her son, Redmond, who she had with fellow actor Ryan O’Neal.
- Farrah’s lifetime achievements are featured in the new A&E documentary Farrah Forever, which airs at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
Farrah Fawcett was most concerned about her son, Redmond O’Neal, before she died at age 62 of anal cancer in 2009.
As her friend Mela Murphy revealed to People in June, the iconic Playboy model was apparently very worried about Redmond’s future. At the time, her then-24-year-old son, who she had with fellow actor Ryan O’Neal, was battling drug addiction and serving time in prison for drug-related charges.
“She was saying his name, ‘Redmond,'” Mela recalled. “That was the last thing she said … I told her I’d take care of him, that I’ll always be there for him. I said, ‘You can go now.’ It was just a few hours before she died.”
Ryan O’Neal (C) and Farrah Fawcett arrive with their son Redmond (L) at the premiere of Malibu’s Most Wanted on April 10, 2003. Getty
When Farrah died on June 25, she left Redmond $4.5 million. The money, though, was strictly to be used only for her son’s health care and rehabilitation.
Last summer, at the age of 33, Redmond was charged with attempted murder after allegedly attacking five men and robbing a 7-Eleven convenience store last summer. He pleaded not guilty to the robbery and other charges, including possession of methamphetamine and heroin. He is reportedly now in a Los Angeles Country jail, as a judge has not yet ruled whether he is competent to stand trial.
Apart from Redmond, the publication also reports that Ryan, who she fell in love with back in 1979, slept in a cot next to her hospital bed and proposed to her a few weeks before she died. The couple were on and off for many years.
Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O’Neal in New York City in 1989. Getty
“He never left her side, especially those last few months,” Farrah’s friend Alana Stewart said. “I think they would’ve married if she had made it because he asked her to marry him in the hospital and she said yes. But she took a turn for the worse. This was just a few weeks before the end, so perhaps it wasn’t realistic.”
She continued: “The two of them had a deep bond and deep love. No matter what they went through, the ups and downs, he was the one she wanted by her side.”
Ten years after Farrah’s death, Ryan told People, “There was never a day I didn’t love her.”
Related Stories Kayla Keegan News and Entertainment Editor Kayla Keegan covers all things in the entertainment, pop culture, and celebrity space for Good Housekeeping.
Redmond O’Neal, Ryan and Farrah’s son, accused of homophobic attack in new lawsuit
Redmond O’Neal, the belligerent, substance-abusing son of Ryan O’Neal and Farrah Fawcett, faced more legal jeopardy Thursday from hate-crime allegations: He’s being sued by a man who says O’Neal attacked him, beat him up and called him a gay slur as he walked on a Los Angeles street in May.
It is the second lawsuit, in addition to felony criminal charges, filed against O’Neal stemming from an alleged crime spree earlier this year. O’Neal, 33, is accused of attacking five men in unprovoked confrontations starting on May 2 through May 5. Two of the five men were seriously injured, with one man found in a pool of blood with stab wounds to his face and upper body.
Ken Fox says he is one of those five men. He appeared at a press conference Thursday at his lawyer Gloria Allred’s Los Angeles office to announce the lawsuit alleging assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violation of civil rights, negligence, loss of consortium and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
In a choked voice, Fox described what he said O’Neal did to him and the consequences he is still suffering. He said he was minding his own business, dragging a wheeled laundry basket to a nearby laundromat, when he saw a young man approaching dressed in a hoodie and carrying a bottle in a paper bag.
Fox said the man snarled, “What are you looking at,” adding a common gay slur. “I was not dressed provocatively. All I did was look up when I saw him approach me.”
Fox said the slur the man used amounts to “hate speech” and is “just one of many offensive terms used to make gay men feel ashamed of themselves.”
He said the man, later identified by police as O’Neal, rushed at him, bashed him on the nose with a beer bottle, then stood over him as he lay on the ground bleeding. He said the man continued to taunt him with slurs, throwing punches and threatening to hit him with the bottle.
“I felt trapped, like a wounded animal. I literally thought I was going to die,” Fox said. “All I could do was scream until he just walked away.”
O’Neal was later arrested; prosecutors have filed one count of attempted murder against O’Neal, plus two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of brandishing a knife and one count of battery, all related to the alleged crime spree.
Fox said he filed his lawsuit to hold O’Neal accountable for beating him and for expressing violent homophobia in violation of state civil rights laws. He said O’Neal should not expect to get off just because his parents are famous.
“He appears to be an unrepentant repeat offender who has had his parole revoked for doing drugs in a rehabilitation center,” Fox said. “In my opinion he is competent enough to know exactly what he was doing. He wanted to hurt an old, weak, defenseless gay man. He wanted to hurt me. And he did hurt me.”
Fox described a litany of medical and psychological woes stemming from the attack, including having his nose re-broken and reset. He said he is seeing numerous physicians for various issues, as well as a psychologist for counseling.
“There must be serious consequences for anyone who engages in violence against innocent victims and particularly where the victim is victimized on account of his status as a member of a minority which has a long history of persecution and violence against them on account of their sexual orientation,” Allred said.
O’Neal has been in custody since he was arrested May 8 on suspicion of robbing a 7-11 convenience store at knife point.
He has already been sued for assault and battery in connection with one of the other unprovoked attacks in Venice, California, in which O’Neal is accused of sticking a knife in a man’s head and slitting his throat.
O’Neal has a troubled history with substance abuse and with the law. He was arrested in 2011 for possession of heroin and possession of a gun by a felon, following a previous DUI and drugs charge in 2008. In 2015, he was sentenced to three years in prison for violating parole, but he was released before the end of his sentence.
His half-sister, Oscar-winner Tatum O’Neal, who has had her own well-publicized problems with substance abuse, told People in 2015 that “he’s got addiction problems so bad that it breaks my heart.”
Redmond O’Neal is the son of Ryan O’Neal and his longtime partner, Fawcett, who died in 2009 after a long battle with cancer. On the eve of her death, she finally agreed to marry O’Neal.
In May, Redmond O’Neal blamed all his problems on his parents and, since his mother’s death, on his fractious relationship with his father.
- Redmond O’Neal, son of Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O’Neal, is receiving mental health treatment prior to standing trial.
- He will be receiving treatment while in jail awaiting admission into the facility.
- Redmond is facing several felony charges.
It has been reported that Redmond O’Neal, the son of late Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O’Neal, will be receiving mental health treatment before standing trial. He was deemed too incompetent to stand trial for a series of crimes he allegedly committed in May 2018. Commissioner Laura Stremer did order him to receive psychiatric medication while he’s in jail and awaiting admission into the facility.
Redmond was arrested on May 8th due to being a suspect in an armed robbery of a 7-Eleven. However, he was found to be linked to several other crimes following that May 8th arrest. He apparently committed crimes during a “spree” in Los Angeles. Five men were attacked in “unprovoked confrontations” in the Venice Beach and Palms areas. The suspect was alleged to be male with red hair and tattoos.
Redmond O’Neal’s multiple felony charges
Redmond O’Neal / LAPD
Furthermore, Redmond allegedly stabbed one man in the head and injured another using a broken glass bottle. In order to stand trial for these multiple charges, Redmond needs to be able to fully understand it first and to also help his attorney. In total, by June 2018, Redmond had been charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of battery, one count of criminal threats, and one count of brandishing a knife.
He would end up pleading not guilty to the robbery on May 8th. As of right now, he has been placed in the custody of the state Department of Mental Health.
He has a past of run-ins with the law
Redmond O’Neal, Farrah Fawcett / Fox News
It has been revealed that Redmond has struggled with substance abuse in the past. His half-sister, Tatum O’Neal, opens up about his addiction. “I love him, but I have never seen a more scary side of addiction. He’s got addiction problems so bad that it breaks my heart. Nobody knows what to do with Redmond. From what I’ve seen, there is no way he’s going to survive,” she says.
This isn’t Redmond’s first rodeo either. Back in 2008, he was arrested for DUI and drug possession. Then, just three years later, he was arrested for possession of heroin. And again in 2015, he was sentenced to three years in prison for violating his probation. However, he was released two years earlier than expected.
Redmond O’Neal / MB/MEGA
It’s unclear what has prompted his violent spree in Los Angeles, but we hope Redmond gets the help he needs!
Troubled Redmond O’Neal could soon find out to which California state hospital he will be transferred in his battle to restore mental competency, Radar Online can exclusively report.
On October 4, Commissioner Laura Streimer ordered the son of Ryan O’Neal and the late Farrah Fawcett to be committed to the Department of Mental Health for placement at one of the state hospitals. Officials with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said it’s still unknown which state hospital he will call home, but O’Neal will remain at a Los Angeles County jail until he gets the green light to be transferred.
Last month, Streimer ruled that the 34-year-old is incompetent to stand trial, and must receive treatment from a state mental hospital before he can face serious felony charges related to a week-long crime spree where he allegedly viciously attacked and seriously injured at least two men while high on drugs in May 2018. One man faces “years” of recovery after being stabbed in the head.
In order to be deemed “competent,” O’Neal must be able to understand the charges against him, what is happening during the criminal proceedings and also be able to assist his lawyer in his defense.
As Radar first reported, O’Neal has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and antisocial personality disorder. He also has infamously struggled with alcohol and drug abuse.
According to court documents obtained by Radar, O’Neal’s maximum commitment date to the state mental health facility is set until Oct. 4, 2021. Last month, Streimer also ordered medication for O’Neal, who a source recently said refused to take his pills.
“The Court finds that the Defendant lacks the capacity to make decisions regarding psychotropic medication,” she said, according to the court documents. “If untreated with psychotropic medication, it is probable that the Defendant will suffer serious harm to his physical or mental health. It is medically appropriate to treat the Defendant’s psychiatric condition with psychotropic medication. This medication is likely to be effective. The treatment facility is authorized to administer involuntary psychotropic medication to the Defendant in an objectively reasonable manner consistent with the facility’s policies when and as prescribed by the Defendant’s treating psychiatrist.”
Court documents also state O’Neal is ordered to be admitted to a state hospital no later than November 1, 2019, but O’Neal’s transfer is also dependent on the availability of beds at that facility, a source close to the case said.
Streimer also ordered the director of the Department of State Hospitals to prepare a report by January 2020 concerning O’Neal’s progress.
Farrah Fawcett’s Son, Redmond, Sued for Stabbing Man in the Skull with a ‘Spike’
Redmond O’Neal has been sued by one of the men he allegedly attacked last year during a violent crime spree, and the alleged victim claims the son of Farrah Fawcett stabbed him in the head during a drug-fueled rage.
According to documents obtained by The Blast, Steven Jaco claims he was attacked by 34-year-old O’Neal last year in Venice, CA. Jaco claims O’Neal attacked “without provocation,” and was wielding his fists, along with some sort of “spike.”
Jaco, who insists O’Neal was under the influence of drugs, claims he was stabbed “on the right side of his skull, near the side of his left eye and his temple.”
The spike O’Neal was wielding allegedly penetrated over 2 inches into the man’s skull, and the victim collapsed into unconsciousness after feeling “excruciating pain.”
LA County Sheriff’s Dept
Jaco claims he has incurred tons of medical expenses, along with not being able to work, and now wants to go after O’Neal for the damages.
The man claims the incident occurred on June 9, 2018 — but he may have his dates a little off — because June 9 was the day O’Neal was actually charged in connection with a violent crime spree he had carried out around town in the previous weeks. As we reported, he was connected to 5 violent incidents, and was charged with attempted murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, criminal threats, brandishing a knife and battery.
It’s the second lawsuit the troubled son of Fawcett and actor Ryan O’Neal has faced, as another man sued Redmond last year accusing the celebrity spawn of a hate crime during the violent spree.
Meanwhile, O’Neal remains behind bars until his next hearing in July.
Farrah Fawcett to marry Ryan O’Neal ‘on death bed’
The 62 year old actress was diagnosed with rectal cancer in 2006 and had surgery to remove a tumour.
A year later she discovered the cancer had returned and despite experimental treatment in Germany found the disease had spread through her body.
Millions of people were given a revealing insight into her desperate battle to live after US TV aired a one-hour special on her search for a cure last month.
O’Neal, who has described his relationship with Fawcett as a “love story”, revealed before the TV documentary that she had stopped receiving full treatment.
He said the blonde, flowing hair that helped make the actress one of the most famous poster pin ups of all time had dropped out.
O’Neal, 68, who fought back tears as he talked about his love and admiration for Fawcett, said she was bed ridden and fed intravenously through a drip.
The documentary Farah’s Story was watched by over nine million people and praised for its candid look at cancer.
Fawcett met O’Neal after the end of her marriage to Lee Majors in 1982. The couple have had a stormy relationship and have split up several times.
They have one son, Redmond, 24, who is currently in jail on drug charges.
He was allowed to leave prison to see his ailing mother and in touching scenes filmed for the documentary was seen climbing on to her bed to give her a hug.
Friends revealed O’Neal had previously asked Fawcett to marry him, most recently when she was undergoing treatment in Germany.
O’Neal returned to the United States to try his luck in Hollywood. In 1962, he landed a supporting role in the television western Empire. The show only lasted a season, but more parts soon followed. O’Neal made guest appearances on such shows as The Virginian, Perry Mason, and Wagon Train before getting a role on the groundbreaking prime-time soap opera Peyton Place in 1964.
Peyton Place, based on the best-selling novel by Grace Metalious, explored the darker side of several families living in a suburban New England town. It was a huge hit with television audiences, and its popularity helped launch O’Neal’s career and the career of cast member Mia Farrow.
O’Neal’s personal life seemed much like the soap opera he starred in. In the early 1960s, O’Neal married actress Joanna Moore. The couple had two children together: a daughter named Tatum in 1963 and son Griffin in 1964. They split up a few years later, divorcing in 1967. That same year, O’Neal married for the second time. He wed actress Lee Taylor-Young with whom he had a son Patrick. O’Neal and Taylor-Young also divorced soon after.
After Peyton Place ended in 1969, O’Neal moved on to feature films. He landed the lead in 1969’s The Big Bounce, starring opposite his wife Lee in a film adaptation of the novel by Elmore Leonard. It proved to be a box-office disappointment, but his next effort, 1970’s Love Story, turned out to be a great success. He played Oliver Barrett IV, beating out 300 other performers for the role. O’Neal starred opposite Ali McGraw in this romantic tearjerker about a young man who turns his back on his wealth to marry the woman he loves, only to lose her to a terminal illness. For his work on the film, he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
Turning to comedy, O’Neal starred opposite Barbra Streisand in What’s Up Doc? (1971). He then played a grifter working con games with his daughter (played by his real-life daughter Tatum) in the critically acclaimed hit Paper Moon (1973). Tatum won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role. While his daughter’s career appeared to be heating up, O’Neal experienced several flops, including Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 historical drama Barry Lyndon and 1978’s Oliver’s Story, a sequel to Love Story. He also had a series of missed opportunities, having been considered and rejected for lead roles in The Godfather and Rocky. In 1979, O’Neal scored a box office win with The Main Event, starring again with Barbra Streisand in this popular boxing comedy.
10 Years After Farrah Fawcett Died, Ryan O’Neal Says, ‘There Was Never a Day I Didn’t Love Her’
Ten years after the death of Farrah Fawcett, her longtime love, Ryan O’Neal, remembers the golden girl he fell for in 1979. “There was never a day I didn’t love her,” O’Neal, 78, says exclusively in this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday.
Fawcett died on June 25, 2009, at age 62 of anal cancer. Now that a decade has passed, those closest to her remember the beautiful and brave friend they loved — and her heartbreaking goodbye.
Fawcett fell in love with O’Neal in 1979, when she was still married to Lee Majors, then star of the hit TV show The Six Million Dollar Man. Majors asked O’Neal to check in on his wife while he was away filming, and the rest was Hollywood history for the next three decades.
Image zoom Ryan O’Neal, Farrah Fawcett and their son, Redmond Courtesy Ryan O’Neal
Fawcett and O’Neal, who had a son, Redmond O’Neal, in 1985, never married. They split in 1997 and announced they would jointly raise their son. They reunited in 2001 after O’Neal was diagnosed with leukemia, and Fawcett took care of him. (His leukemia is now in remission.)
- People’s special edition celebrating the life of Farrah Fawcett is on sale now at Amazon and wherever magazines are sold.
O’Neal was known for his volatility, and their union was far from perfect. Still, Fawcett’s close friend Sylvia Dorsey says: “Ryan was the love of her life. I don’t think she was happy without him. They fought and loved with passion. It was never boring. They were electric together.”
RELATED: Farrah Fawcett’s Friends Recall Her Final Days and Her Last Words: ‘Redmond’
Image zoom Courtesy Ryan O’Neal
Even amidst the sadness of Farrah’s final days, there were a few moments of levity courtesy of O’Neal, the man who could always make her laugh.
He slept in a cot by her side at St. John’s Medical Center in Los Angeles, Fawcett’s good friend Mela Murphy recalls.
“The night before she died, he was talking and talking, leading up to the story of when he first met Farrah,” Murphy says. “It was his way of telling her how much he loved her. She looked over at me and rolled her eyes, and then she smiled.”
- For more on Farrah Fawcett’s final days, pick up a copy of this week’s PEOPLE, on stands Friday
Image zoom Randee St. Nicholas
A few weeks before she died, O’Neal had proposed marriage.
“He never left her side, especially those last few months,” says Fawcett’s close friend Alana Stewart. “I think they would’ve married if she had made it because he asked her to marry him in the hospital and she said yes. But she took a turn for the worse. This was just a few weeks before the end, so perhaps it wasn’t realistic. The two of them had a deep bond and deep love. No matter what they went through, the ups and downs, he was the one she wanted by her side.”
On the morning of June 25, 2009, O’Neal took her hand as Farrah took her last breaths.
Fawcett’s Charlie’s Angel’s costar and longtime friend Jaclyn Smith also has warm memories of the once golden couple. “Ryan was the love of her life, and she, his,” she says. “Whether they had a fight or were back together, it was always Ryan. The father of your child. Connected forever.”
- By Liz McNeil @lizmcneil
Redmond O’Neal, son to Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O’Neal, charged with attempted murder
Redmond O’Neal, the troubled son of late actor Farrah Fawcett and her boyfriend of 17 years, Ryan O’Neal, has been charged with attempted murder in California.
Los Angeles police say the younger O’Neal, 33, randomly attacked five men during a “violent crime spree” last month. He’s been in jail since early May.
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O’Neal became a suspect after police investigating the crimes kept hearing the same description of the alleged perpetrator: the wanted man had red hair and many identifiable tattoos.
Along with the charge of attempted murder, O’Neal is facing two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of brandishing a knife, one count of criminal threats and one count of battery.
Story continues below advertisement The Los Angeles police department supplied this official mug shot of Redmond O’Neal. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
The LAPD posted a list of each incident in which O’Neal is considered a suspect:
• On May 2, 2018, a male White suspect with red hair and distinct tattoos came upon a male White victim on Overland Avenue and Woodbine Street in the Palms neighborhood of Los Angeles. The suspect became angry after the victim appeared to look at him. The suspect then punched the victim and armed himself with a glass bottle. The suspect unsuccessfully tried to strike the victim with the broken glass bottle and fled the scene. The victim sustained minor injuries to his face.
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• On May 3, 2018, a male White suspect with red hair, and reddish blonde facial hair, came upon a male White victim as he was exiting a convenience store in the 3400 block of Overland Avenue. The victim engaged the suspect in conversation. The suspect became angry and repeatedly punched the victim in his head and threw him to the ground. The suspect then fled the scene. The victim sustained minor injuries to his head.
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• On May 4, 2018, a male White suspect with red hair was walking near the Venice Beach Boardwalk on Speedway Avenue at Rose Avenue. A male White victim looked at the suspect, at which time, the suspect stabbed him with a knife. Initially, the victim thought that the suspect had merely “punched” him in the back. However, once paramedics arrived, the paramedics discovered that the victim had sustained a serious stab wound to the left side of his body.
• On May 4, 2018, a male White victim was walking to his car on 4th Avenue from Rose Avenue. At 8:45 p.m., several people found the victim laying in a pool of blood with obvious stab wounds to his face and upper body. Nearby video surveillance captured a male White suspect walking away from the scene shortly after the victim was found lying on the sidewalk. The victim sustained significant and serious stab wounds and cuts to his face, neck, and upper body.
• On May 5, 2018, a male White suspect with red hair and distinct tattoos became belligerent inside a coffee shop at Pacific Avenue and Windward Avenue. A male White employee confronted the suspect, at which time an argument ensued. The suspect became angry and brandished a folding knife. The suspect lunged, jabbed and threatened to harm the employee with the knife. The suspect then fled the scene.
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This isn’t the first time O’Neal has had serious problems with the law; he has struggled with addiction and hard-drug use throughout most of his life. He was arrested for heroin possession in 2015 and has been in court for similar charges as far back as 2005.
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When his mother died of cancer in June 2009, he was in a court-mandated rehab program at the time, and he inherited $4.5 million from her estate. (It’s unclear what has happened to that money since then, or how much of it remains.) It’s unknown how close he is with his father.
O’Neal is being held without bond and is facing many years behind bars if found guilty. He is expected back in court on July 10.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Farrah Fawcett’s son arrested after robbing 7-Eleven
Farrah Fawcett’s and Ryan O’Neal’s son, Redmond O’Neal, has been arrested for holding up a Los Angeles 7-Eleven.
Hollywood star Ryan O’Neal is quietly letting go of a famed Andy Warhol portrait of his late ex, Farrah Fawcett, for as much as $18 million, Page Six has learned.
A source added O’Neal wants the Warhol to be in the hands of an art collector, and doesn’t want to leave the work to his grown kids.
The painting has been at the center of controversy before. In 2013, a jury ruled that O’Neal could keep the artwork after the University of Texas claimed Fawcett left it to the school in her will. At the time of the legal dispute, the portrait was valued in court by experts to be worth up to $12 million.
An art insider told Page Six, “Ryan O’Neal is quietly trying to unload his Warhol portrait of his ex, Farrah Fawcett. Initially, he wanted $20 million, but it’s now marked down to $18 million.” The source added O’Neal would be “willing to let it go for less.” The painting is being shopped with documentation including a March 22, 2018, letter by an appraiser that pegs its worth between $21 million and $24 million.
The son of Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O’Neal has struggled with drug addiction and has had several run-ins with the law. (AP)
The paperwork also explains the piece’s provenance. It was “painted by the artist in 1980 one of a pair given to the actress and her common-law husband Ryan O’Neal … It’s actually one of two portraits of Fawcett by Warhol. The other one was left by her to the University of Texas which tried in court to take possession of both.”
O’Neal and “Charlie’s Angels” legend Fawcett never married, but were together from 1979 to 1997, and again from 2001 until her death in 2009. They had a son, Redmond, who’s been jailed since May 2018 for allegedly committing a string of violent crimes, and for heroin and meth possession.
Ryan has three other grown children: Oscar-winner Tatum and her brother Griffin (with ex-wife Joanna Moore), and sportscaster Patrick (with second ex, Leigh Taylor-Young).
Ryan’s been facing health issues. In 2012, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. A rep for O’Neal did not comment.
June 25, 2009 — Former “Charlie’s Angel” Farrah Fawcett died today at age 62 after a long struggle with anal cancer, her spokesman told media organizations.
Fawcett’s movie and TV roles after Charlie’s Angels included The Cannonball Run, The Burning Bed, Small Sacrifices, Extremities, and The Apostle. Fawcett’s swimsuit poster made her an icon in the 1970s. She and Ryan O’Neal have a son, Redmond, born in 1985.
Fawcett was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006.
At the time, Fawcett got radiation and chemotherapy to treat her cancer, but in May 2007, Fawcett learned that her cancer was back and that it had spread to her liver as stage IV cancer.
Fawcett had traveled to Germany six times seeking cancer treatment. That treatment included chemotherapy, surgery to remove the original anal cancer, laser treatments of the tumors in her liver, and other surgeries and procedures that were mentioned but not specified in Farrah’s Story, a documentary shown on NBC in May 2009.
That documentary shows Fawcett being told, in early 2008, that her liver tumors were no longer active. Her U.S. doctor, Lawrence Piro, MD, explains in the documentary that Fawcett wasn’t cancer free, but that “each of the known sites of tumor in the liver had all been treated and, on scans, were looking inactive.” Piro is the president and CEO of The Angeles Clinic and Research Institute in Los Angeles.
But in the spring of 2008, scans showed new tumors in Fawcett’s liver and regrowth of her original anal tumor.
In the summer of 2008, Fawcett entered a clinical trial of an experimental drug in the U.S., but those treatments did not prove successful and scans showed that her tumor was progressing. Fawcett also switched to other chemotherapy drugs, which made her hair fall out — something that Piro says Fawcett had wanted to avoid in her earlier cancer treatment.
After her sixth trip to Germany for more treatments — described only as “surgical procedures” in her documentary — Fawcett was hospitalized in April 2009 because of a blood clot.
Comments about Fawcett can be posted on WebMD’s news blog.
Earlier this year, WebMD spoke to the American Cancer Society’s Debbie Saslow, PhD, about anal cancer. Here’s what Saslow shared:
Actress Farrah Fawcett lost her battle with anal cancer today at the age of 62. She was first diagnosed in 2006.
Anal cancer is one of those cancers no one likes to talk about because it’s, well, anal cancer. But we really should discuss it as much as, say, cervical cancer. Both are predominately caused by the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus. In fact, a 2004 study of 6,000 anal cancer patients (the majority of whom were women) found that 73 percent of the patients tested positive for the strain HPV-16, one of the strains that the Gardasil vaccine protects against.
What’s worrisome is that unlike cervical cancer, which has dropped dramatically since the advent of the Pap smear, anal cancer is on the rise. Incidence rates over the past 30 years have jumped by 78 percent in women and 160 percent in men, probably because more people now have more sexual partners and more people have anal sex (both among heterosexuals and gay men), says Lisa Johnson, a cancer epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle who led the 2004 study.
Having unprotected sex, either anal or vaginally, raises your risk of becoming infected with HPV. Smoking is also associated with a higher risk of anal cancer, according to information I gleaned from the National Cancer Institute website, possibly because it inhibits immune function.
While anal cancer is far less common than breast cancer–1 in 640 women will be diagnosed during their lifetime, compared with 1 in 8 with breast cancer–only about half of anal cancers are detected in their earliest stage, when they’re most treatable. Partly for this reason, only about 67 percent of people diagnosed with anal cancer survive five or more years.
There are, though, several ways women can protect themselves, says Johnson. Younger women can get the Gardasil vaccine, which is approved for those up to age 27. By blocking the transmission of two common cancer-causing HPV strains, she says, the vaccine presumably protects against anal cancers, throat cancers, and oral cancers that are associated with HPV infections.
And don’t skip those yearly gynecologist visits. As tough as it may seem, be upfront with your doctor if you’ve ever had unprotected anal sex and find out if there’s any extra screening you should have. Anal Pap smears are available, and though they’re mostly used for gay men, women can have them too. Be sure you have an HPV test along with your regular Pap smear. If you test positive for a cancer-causing strain and have had anal sex, talk to your doctor about methods for detecting anal abnormalities before they turn cancerous.
(c) 2009 U.S. News & World Report
What Really Killed Farrah Fawcett?
In a recent interview between CNN’s Piers Morgan and Ryan O’Neal, O’Neal claimed that the stress resulting from his family turmoil may have contributed to Farrah Fawcett’s death. He stated,“…we really don’t know what causes cancer…”
When it comes to anal cancer, the disease that took Fawcett’s life in June of 2009, we certainly do know the cause. More than 90 percent of anal cancers are the result of Human Papillomavirus (HPV). This is the same virus responsible for cervical, vulvar, vaginal, penile and oral cancers.
The list of cancers resulting from HPV continues to grow, with oral cancer (mainly affecting men) as the latest on the ongoing list. It has been known for quite some time, however, that HPV is responsible for anal cancer.
Over the past three decades, anal cancer has risen among women by 78 percent, and it has risen among men by 160 percent. Those figures were taken from a study done in 2004 by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. It has been another seven years, and still, little is done to inform the public of this rapidly growing trend and the vaccine that can prevent the two most aggressive strains of HPV known to cause anal cancer.
When Fawcett’s documentary regarding her diagnosis and treatment for anal cancer aired in 2009, anal cancer survivors and others with HPV watched intently. They wanted to see if there would be a public service announcement at the end of the documentary to educate others on the potential for HPV to be cancer causing. Also, they wanted viewers to know a vaccine exists. But the announcement never came, nor was HPV ever spoken about during the documentary.
This doesn’t mean that Fawcett had HPV—only medical professionals and her family knows the answer to this question. It did, however, inflame weeks of posts on various HPV support blogs. The outrage took some time to die down, but the sentiment expressed by everyone was virtually the same.
Why couldn’t she have at least used this opportunity to educate the public beyond the existence of anal cancer (and the hopes of removing the stigma)?
Why didn’t she also make the connection to HPV, the virus that most only know is related to cervical cancer?
It is truly unfortunate, because whether she had HPV or not, as a well-known celebrity, and with a documentary that garnered literally millions of viewers, she had an opportunity to do so much more to educate the public. Had individuals learned even two years ago that a vaccine exists to protect against HPV and anal cancer, some victims would still probably be alive today.
This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.