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Last Updated: Friday, 9 February 2007, 18:55 GMT
Faces of the week
Faces of the Week

Our regular look at some of the names which have made the news this week. Above are RYAN O'NEAL (main picture), with TAISA THOMSEN, AARON CRAZE, BERNARD MATTHEWS and LISA NOWAK.

RYAN O'NEAL

From being the golden boy of Hollywood, Ryan O'Neal's star has faded with age and his latest scrape with the law is another chapter in a troubled life.

When Love Story was released in 1970 it was billed as the most romantic film ever screened and it made Ryan O'Neal's name.

He was the golden boy who had Hollywood at his feet and the world's women swooning.

But over the years there have been numerous stories about his alleged violent and erratic behaviour and he has spent time in jail for assault.

His latest brush with the law happened after he returned home from a celebration with his on-off girlfriend Farrah Fawcett.

Accounts of what took place at his home in Malibu vary wildly but they all involve Ryan firing a gun during an altercation with his eldest son, Griffin.

Police mugshot of Ryan O'Neal after his altercation with son Griffin
Police mugshot of Ryan O'Neal after his altercation with son Griffin

The actor said he fired a warning shot into the air when his son attacked him with a poker, but others say he was the aggressor.

Police arrested him on suspicion of assaulting his son with a deadly weapon and negligent discharge of a firearm.

Whatever really happened, there is no denying that the golden boy of the 1970 hit Love Story has lived a life worthy of the movies.

Ryan O'Neal had a comfortable early life. His father was a screen writer and his mother a moderately successful actress.

But he was keen on fighting from an early age - an enthusiasm his father encouraged by building a boxing ring in the back garden of their home in California. His skill won him prizes in local youth tournaments.

Love Story

By the time he was 18, Ryan O'Neal's aggression was no longer confined to the boxing ring. He assaulted a man at a party and spent 51 days in jail.

But he'd been brought up with the movies and soon found work as a stuntman. His chance came in 1964 when he won a part in Peyton Place, which was to become a highly popular American soap opera.

However, he really hit the big time in 1970 when he and Ali MacGraw starred in the film of Erich Segal's novel, Love Story.

The tale of young lovers doomed by cancer became the biggest box office hit of the following year, although the reaction of critics was mixed.

Ryan O'Neal with Farrah Fawcett
In happier times with Farrah Fawcett

In Love Story's closing scene, O'Neal famously said: "Love means never having to say you're sorry."

Two years later, he gently mocked the line when he appeared in the comedy What's up Doc? opposite Barbara Streisand.

When his co-star used the same words about the meaning of love, O'Neal replies: "That's the dumbest thing I ever heard."

But he was now a worldwide star and in 1973 he appeared in Paper Moon alongside his 10-year-old daughter Tatum.

According to Tatum, her father became hugely jealous when she won an Oscar for the film and their relationship deteriorated.

Even Ryan O'Neal's manager, Neil Hassman, acknowledged that father and daughter have "an extremely strained relationship".

By Tatum O Neal's account, her brother Griffin fared no better with their father.

And Farrah Fawcett, who left a marriage to the Six Million Dollar Man, Lee Majors, to be with O'Neal, has publicly accused him of failing to deal properly with the problems of their son Redmond.

The couple had a 17-year relationship before it ended but in the last few years, as both of them have fought cancer, they are said to be much closer.

Whether their friendship stands the test of time - and the latest accusation that Ryan O'Neal assaulted his son - is another matter.


Taiza Thomsen
TAISA THOMSEN

The mystery of the missing Brazilian beauty queen has been solved. When Taiza Thomsen disappeared after moving to London last year, there were suggestions that she might have been the victim of people traffickers. But she's now rung Brazilian police and told them she's safe and well. Her parents had reported her missing but according to some reports they're the last people she wants to see.

Aaron Craze
AARON CRAZE

It seems that dreams really can come true. Aaron Craze has just won the chance to renovate and manage a new restaurant in a competition run by the TV chef Jamie Oliver. Craze says he had a tough upbringing. His dad never worked and used to disappear for days on end. But his father obviously passed something on in the genes, because when he was at home he did a little cooking - rustling up fresh bread, doughnuts and curries.

Bernard Matthews
BERNARD MATTHEWS

There's no doubt about it: it's been a bad week for Bernard Matthews. Most of us remember him for the TV commercials in which he personally encouraged the public to buy his turkey products - assuring us they were "bootiful". But after the bird flu outbreak at his company's farm in Suffolk he's said very little. Money talks however, and sales of his many products have slumped. Inevitably some commentators are also questioning the intensive conditions in which the turkeys were reared.

Lisa Nowack
LISA NOWAK

It was a headline writers dream and most of them plumped for "Lust in Space". But for Lisa Nowak it's turned into something of a nightmare. The astronaut has been accused of the attempted murder of a woman she regarded as a rival for the love of another astronaut. Armed with pepper spray, a knife and a steel mallet she is accused of driving 900 miles to confront her alleged victim. Most bizarrely she wore a nappy so she didn't have to stop during the long journey.


Written by BBC News Profiles Unit's Helen Morgan Wynne





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