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Jennifer O'Neill

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: February 20, 1948 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Rio de Janeiro, BR Profession: actor, producer, model

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A former model and spokesperson for Cover Girl cosmetics, Jennifer O'Neill came to prominence as the beautiful young widow on whom Gary Grimes has a overwhelming crush in "The Summer of '42" (1971). Although she continued acting for the next two decades, the actress rarely found roles that tapped her abilities.Born in Brazil to a British mother and businessman father, O'Neill was raised as a privileged child in such tony environments as New Rochelle, New York and Wilton, Connecticut. As a teenager, the leggy brunette won several awards for her horsemanship. By age 15, the beauty had been put under contract by the Ford modeling agency and soon was appearing on magazine covers and in TV commercials. Like many other models, O'Neill gravitated to acting, making her film debut in a bit role in "For the Love of Ivy" (1968) and acquitted herself opposite John Wayne in Howard Hawks' final film "Rio Lobo" (1970). After her breakthrough in "Summer of '42", the actress was in demand but was merely window dressing in Otto Preminger's soapy "Such Good Friends" (1972). O'Neill delivered, however, as a woman whose lover could possibly be harboring the spirit of her dead father in the underrated "The Reincarnation...

A former model and spokesperson for Cover Girl cosmetics, Jennifer O'Neill came to prominence as the beautiful young widow on whom Gary Grimes has a overwhelming crush in "The Summer of '42" (1971). Although she continued acting for the next two decades, the actress rarely found roles that tapped her abilities.

Born in Brazil to a British mother and businessman father, O'Neill was raised as a privileged child in such tony environments as New Rochelle, New York and Wilton, Connecticut. As a teenager, the leggy brunette won several awards for her horsemanship. By age 15, the beauty had been put under contract by the Ford modeling agency and soon was appearing on magazine covers and in TV commercials. Like many other models, O'Neill gravitated to acting, making her film debut in a bit role in "For the Love of Ivy" (1968) and acquitted herself opposite John Wayne in Howard Hawks' final film "Rio Lobo" (1970). After her breakthrough in "Summer of '42", the actress was in demand but was merely window dressing in Otto Preminger's soapy "Such Good Friends" (1972). O'Neill delivered, however, as a woman whose lover could possibly be harboring the spirit of her dead father in the underrated "The Reincarnation of Peter Proud" (1975). Her subsequent feature output, however, has been of mixed quality, with the best being David Croenenberg's "Scanners" (1991) and "Committed" (1993), in which she was a nurse-turned-patient in a mental institution.

O'Neill fared slightly better on the small screen. She was quite good as a Southerner brutalized in a Union prison during the Civil War in "Love's Savage Fury" (ABC, 1979) and was properly haughty as the titled, globe-trotting mother of a perfume heiress in "Bare Essence" (NBC, 1983). The actress had her best chance as a fashion photographer who was really a government agent in "Cover Up" (CBS, 1984-85), but the untimely death of her co-star Jon-Eric Hexum cast a pall over the project. Throughout the late 80s and into the 90s, O'Neill has kept busy in TV-movies, playing everything from a psychotic murderer in "Red Spider" (CBS, 1988) to a journalist who becomes involved with an inmate in "Invasion of Privacy" (USA Network, 1992) to Richard Crenna's wife in "Jonathan Stone: Threat of Innocence" (NBC, 1994).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Doonby (2012)
4.
 Time Changer (2002) Michelle Bain
5.
6.
 Ride, The (1998) Ellen Stillwell
8.
 Silver Strand, The (1995) Louellen Peterson
9.
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born in Brasil
:
Moved to NYC with her family as a child
:
Began modeling career as a teenager; signed by the Ford agency by the time she was 15
:
Was spokesperson for Cover Girl cosemetics
:
Appeared in TV commercials for Noxema products
1968:
Had bit role in "For Love of Ivy"
1970:
First major film role, "Rio Lobo"
1971:
Had breakthrough film role as a young widow in "Summer of '42"
1975:
Won best actress honors at the Deauville Film Festival for "The Reincarnation of Peter Proud"
1979:
Made TV-movie debut in "Love's Savage Fury" (ABC)
1982:
Accidentally shot herself
1983:
Played Lady Bobbi Rowan in TV series "Bare Essence" (NBC)
1984:
Starred in CBS series "Cover Up"
1985:
Starred in miniseries "A.D." (NBC)
1993:
Played power-hungry editor in "The Cover Girl Murders" (USA)
1997:
Made guest appearance on "Nash Bridges"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Dalton School: New York , New York -
Professional Children's School: New York , New York -

Notes

"To me the success of my life is the reflection of my presence, be it mother, wife or friend. All my life I've been unstoppable, but now I feel unswayable. That feels like success to me.

"As for acting, I cared very much about being a good actress, and I learned over the years. But it wasn't my main motivating force in life; that was my drive for relationships. The concept of letting go for the sake of a marriage is unheard of in Hollywood. I did not make popular decision. I never moved to Hollywood. I wouldn't take my clothes off to act. Hollywood never owned me. My need for love owned me." --O'Neill quoted in THE NEW YORK TIMES. April 27, 1999

O'Neill is the founder of Point of View Productions through which she develops properties.

Her line of skin care products is sold on the Shop at Home network.

She is a show horse breeder and broke her back in a fall from a horse.

O'Neill has been fairly candid about her life, including her nine marriages to eight men and nine miscarriages. She detailed all in her memoirs.

She accidentally wounded herself in 1982 when she moved a gun she did not know was loaded. Her then-husband was charged with weapons possession but was found not guilty.

In Tennessee in November 1996, O'Neill was arrested and charged with speeding and driving while under the influence. She was later cleared of all charges.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
David Rossiter. Photographer. Married in 1964; divorced in 1971; father of O'Neill's daughter Aimee.
husband:
Joseph Koster. Advertising executive, novelist. Married for one year.
companion:
Elliott Gould. Actor. Had romantic involvement in the mid-1970s.
husband:
Nichoals De Noia. Producer. Divorced in 1976; murdered in 1987 at age 46; had won two Emmy Awards for producing children's specials.
husband:
Jeff Barry. Songwriter. Married for one year.
husband:
John Lederer. Manager. Married c. 1977; divorced in 1983; father of O'Neill's son Reis; faced weapons possessions charges over a gun that accidentally discharged and wounded O'Neill (in 1982); acquitted; had previous felony conviction for receiving stolen property; born c. 1947.
companion:
Tom Reich. Lawyer. Announced engagement in 1986 but subsequently ended realtionship.
husband:
James. Singer-songwriter, author. Married in the 1980s; father of O'Neill's youngest son Cooper; Born-Again Christian.
husband:
Neil Bonin. Actor. Married on December 9, 1992; divorced; born c. 1959.
husband:
Mervin Louque. Songwriter. Head of the songwriters' organization in Nashville, Tennessee.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

grandfather:
Oscar O'Neill Sr. Banker. President of the Bank of Rio de Janeiro.
father:
Oscar O'Neill Jr. Medical supplies exporter.
mother:
Irene O'Neill. English; met O'Neill's father when he was stationed in London during WWII; married c. 1945.
brother:
Michael O'Neill. Government employee. Born c. 1946.
daughter:
Aimee Rossiter. Born on April 26, 1967; was married at age 18 but later divorced; has three children as of 1999.
son:
Reis Michael Lederer. Born c. 1980.
son:
Cooper Alan. Born on March 8, 1987.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Surviving Myself" William Morrow

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