Oh Ryan. Oliver Barrett the fourth you ain’t.
I’ve read that Mr. O’Neal was not upset that he was left out of Farrah’s will. Yeah right, says your son Griffin.
I, for one, was put off by Farrah’s grimace-like smile in her famous poster, and I thought her skill as an actress was far below par.
Her performances called to mind the words of critic John Simon regarding another blonde beauty queen turned actress: “She came across like one of those inanimate objects, say, a cupboard or a grandfather clock, which is made in certain humorous short subjects to act, through trick photography.”
At times Farrah managed to reinvent herself. Her opaque style served her well when she played the emotionally stunted killer in the 1989 TV movie, based on the Ann Rule true-crime book of the same name, “Small Sacrifices.”
Even if Farrah was not always successful in executing her against-type roles in middle age, at least she tried. It warms the heart.
As for ex-boyfriend Ryan O’Neal, well, he was cut from different cloth. Sleazy, even by Hollywood standards.
His shining moment may have come when he starred in the 1970 film “Love Story” as the well-born Harvard scion who falls for a doomed co-ed from immigrant stock. Watching the movie while sobbing into our hankies was once a rite of passage for female teenagers.
Like me, Farrah was a Texas girl and what did we know about northeastern Ivy League colleges and young men with Roman numerals after their names? Next to nothing.
What did this particular Dallas girl know about love, sex, marriage and death? Even less.
Snow! Old stone buildings! A churlish father-in-law! A devoted dad with an accent!
And the most lame claim about love of all time: “Love means never having to say your sorry.”
Huh? What’s so bad about saying you’re sorry? How about: Love means never having to stare alone at the existential abyss.
Ryan O’Neal managed to muddle his way through “Love Story.” Be handsome, look happy, look sad – he was up to that challenge and rode that success for decades. His personal life was not as glowing, but he managed to hook up with Farrah and mostly they stayed connected.
Like the movie character, it was cancer that took her life. Six weeks before her death, Farrah asked Ryan if she was going to make it. Ryan, who takes Gleevec to keep his leukemia at bay, answered, “Sure, baby – and if you don’t, I’ll go with you.”
Fawcett, born and raised in Corpus Christi, replied, “Stop the Gleevec.”
Girl, that’s a Texas answer if I ever heard one.
Apparently Ryan didn’t stop the Gleevec. But Farrah – I, and the ghosts of the Alamo, salute you.
[originally published by Politics Daily in 2009]