Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Both of Us (Ryan O'Neal, 2012)

Good morning!

And oh, Lord, Lord, do I have a doozy of a book recommendation for all you viewers out there in Blogland today.

Wait! Let me explain!

Preface: Now, usually, I don't drink to quite the excess I ended up drinking on Saturday night, but some time early, early Sunday morning, I woke up in one of those drunken torments that is COMPLETE AND UTTER INSOMNIA.I was sleepless! Sleepless as I have ever been! Have you ever done that? You wake up, hours after having fallen asleep in a state of extreme inebriation, and realize you have never been so completely awake in your life? Not even hungover, just awake in some cave bat like nocturnal state. Well, there I was, and Matthew just sleeping like a baby with his sweet little cherubic face turned up to me, looking like an advertisement for Serta and restful repose. I sock-footed it out of bed, drank a glass of water, drank another glass of water, popped some Advil, and hoped that sleep would take merciful hold of me. No dice. So I went for my iPod, and the only book-on-audio I hadn't listened to yet was Both of Us: My Life with Farrah, by Ryan O'Neal.

Ryan O'Neal, in case the name doesn't immediately ring a bell, was a moderately successful leading man in the sixties' and seventies'. I was familiar with him from his work with director Peter Bogdanovich, which includes What's Up, Doc?, Nickelodeon, and the most perfect, perfect, perfect Depression-era movie not actually made in the Depression, Paper Moon. He was in Kubrick's Barry Lyndon. He's handsome in a high school basketball star from the time period kind of way...all reddish blonde hair and boyishly toothy grins, and there's something about his voice and look that reminds me of George Segal or early Robert Redford. He initially shot to fame in the tv version of Peyton Place (with gorgeous Mia Farrow, both before and after her groundbreaking Vidal Sassoon hair cut) and 1970's six-hankie-weeper Love Story (with gorgeous Ali MacGraw). (Confession: I HATED that movie the one time I saw it. Loved the clothes, hated the idea of it. "Love means never having to say you're sorry" is one of the dumbest, most nonsensical things I've ever heard in my life...I hate to think of people using that in earnest, EVER, when they honest to God should just accept the person's apology and move on! But I digress. Great clothes.)

See what I'm saying about the clothes? You could wear this NOW. Right now. And not look a jot out of place. source
I'd read daughter Tatum O'Neal's biography, A Paper Life, a few years back when it came out, so I had a pretty good idea that things between the precocious, troubled actress and her father were not all peachy keen. Then I remembered that not that long ago, she'd done an interview where she said their fences were mended and she'd actually given him the Oscar she'd won for the movie they made together. Then I read that the book was actually supposed to be about his relationship with Farrah Fawcett, so maybe it would be new material altogether from the book I'd already finished.

Folks, this book is crazy. CRAZY. Imagine poor me tangled up in the bedclothes, listening almost against my will to this at-times searingly self-confessional, at-times chatty, at-times strangely tangential narrative, read by O'Neal himself, about everything in the living world. Troubles with his first wife Joanna Moore, who in her youth looked like a prettier Joanne Woodward, and battled alcohol and barbiturate addiction. Troubles with Tatum, with whom fences are apparently UNMENDED, as he speaks on several accounts of how vicious and unstable and hurtful her behavior has been to him throughout her life. Though the book is subtitled "My Life With Farrah", there's none of the attention given in other memoirs of celebrity love affairs (God knows I've read them all) to the actual relationship. I mean, he talks about it, but mainly in "what I should have done", "what she should have done", "can you believe this is what happened" type ways. I don't know if it's the grieving process or what the deal is, but the end product is decidedly bizarre. I would actually tack the breakdown is 45% about Ryan O'Neal, alone; 35% Ryan O'Neal's reaction to things Tatum or his other children have done "to spite him"; and a paltry 20% actually about Farrah Fawcett.

What do I have to do to get hair like that? What?
I was like, maybe I'm crazy! Maybe I'm not listening to/reading this correctly due to the duress of being awake at 2 in the morning for no reason! But a Jezebel article, in reaction to a piece of FF that appeared in Vanity Fair after her death from cancer in 2009, bears out my theory here, running under the byline "Vanity Fair’s Farrah Profile Essentially A Ryan O’Neal Tell-All". Ok, good. I am correct.

For a preview of what this six-hour rollercoaster of an audiobook is like, here are some 2011 chat show appearances by Ryan O'Neal, both with and without daughter Tatum. Imagine the book is like this, but with no one else talking, just Ryan O'Neal. Ah, the oratorical fireworks.

Am I ghoulish to be as interested in this trainwreck of personal-lives-meeting-public-spotlight as I am? Have you seen any of these before? What's your take on the whole airing-private-disagreements-in-public? Wouldn't you rather just remember Ryan O'Neal as the adorable teen heartthrob from the photos at the top of this post? How do we break this to him?

If you've read any flat out crazy celebrity memoirs lately, you know I'm on the hunt for a new one, and there's a high bar to meet after this one!

That's all for today, I'll see you kids back here tomorrow. Til then!


  1. ha! right now in this moment i finished "soundtrack meiner kindheit" von jan josef liefers (german actor).
    dont know if its available in english but you can learn a lot about east germany........

    1. I'm glad you're a fellow movie-memoir reader! I'll have to see if they have it in English!

  2. What a bore the man is! But, putting all of the repellent mean drunk, ex-pretty boy, self absorbed blather aside.. there's always Paper Moon to be grateful for. My favorite moment is the look of "Didya see that?" triumph he gives Addie after he fights Randy Quaid (barefoot or shoes?) The perfect movie! Sigh..and so many great lines. And Madelline Kahn.

    1. I can't help it, I'm FASCINATED by it. I watched all the clips of the O'Neals tv show that was on the O network for a hot minute. DRAMA. Such silly drama!

      Paper Moon is really one of my favorite movies ever. The crackerjack, snappy dialogue, and those wistful, black and white landscapes as they motor through the Midwest. I bawl my eyes out when Addie comes running down the road with her roller skates. I'm getting a little teary just thinking about it! Perfect movie.

  3. Interesting. Delving into other people's junk (especially famous people) perhaps makes us feel better for some reason? And that sensitivity all out there on his sleeve for the whole world to see.....makes you wonder what is "real" for the stars. And what is just playing the role of a star....drama, addiction, etc...

    Hmmm. Cool post. :)

    1. I feel kind of bad, but again, it's just catnip for my little salacious-news-items-lovin' brain.



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