Terry O’Neill, the British photographer known for his famous shots of celebrities in the ’60s and ’70s and his marriage to Faye Dunaway, has died after a bout with cancer. He was 81.
O’Neill’s agency told the BBC that he had prostate cancer and died at home on Saturday night after a long illness.
O’Neill was known for capturing his subjects candidly or in unconventional settings. His career began working in the photography unit for an airline in London after hoping to land a job as a steward to play music in America. In 1959, he took a chance photograph of what turned out to be the Home Secretary napping in an airport and, in selling it, found regular work as a staff photographer with The Daily Sketch.
Some of his most famous subjects include The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Judy Garland, Brigitte Bardot, Sean Connery, David Bowie and Elton John, among many others. He also photographed Britain’s royal family and important politicians.
One of his most famous series was of Dunaway, his then-girlfriend, as she lounged next to a pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel the morning after winning the best actress Oscar for “Network.” The pair had a long relationship and were married from 1983-1987, with one son, Liam.
O’Neill was made an honorary fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in 2004, and received the society’s centenary medal in 2011. He was appointed CBE last month.
He is survived by his wife, Laraine Ashton, his two children from his first marriage to Vera Day, and his son with Dunaway.