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Ryan O'Neal: Bad boy in BARRY LYNDON, bad boy in reality TV

Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 picaresque masterpiece, BARRY LYNDON, was, like many of his greatest films, universally panned as a massive failure upon its release only to be regarded years later as a film classic. It stars Ryan O’Neal in one of his most memorable roles. After five years on Peyton Place, an Oscar nomination for his role in LOVE STORY, followed by WHAT’S UP, DOC? and PAPER MOON, O’Neal was already an established star. He played the part of Lyndon with a quietness and sensitivity I doubt any other actor would have brought to the role. In fact, in all of his biggest roles he’s played the soft-spoken, gentle leading man, like the love-sick Oliver Barrett in LOVE STORY and the prudish, bespectacled Howard Bannister opposite a very forward Barbra Streisand in WHAT’S UP, DOC?

It’s a funny contrast, given the much publicized chaos of his family life. And you’d think that after the media frenzy over his drug charges, multiple counts of domestic abuse (he reportedly broke his son’s arm) and the long running feud with his daughter, actress Tatum O’Neal, Ryan would gladly accept the chance to step out of the spotlight. Instead, he agreed to reunite with his daughter in front of the cameras in the reality show, “Ryan and Tatum,” and then go on TV and give one embarassingly shameful interview after another.

But back in the early 70s, when Kubrick was shooting BARRY LYNDON, none of this had happened yet. Tune into Sundance Channel on Thursday, October 13th, as we go back to a simpler time with BARRY LYNDON.