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I Once Met...Ryan O'Neal. By Jason Morell

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Jason and Ryan

A Georgian grandee, in plum velvet, with singularly blue eyes, stares out from the blurry Polaroid. Standing by him is a boy with a deranged grin.

A Georgian grandee, in plum velvet, with singularly blue eyes, stares out from the blurry Polaroid. Standing by him is a boy with a deranged grin. The child is me; the 18th-century aristocrat is the actor Ryan O’Neal (1941-2023). It is July 1974 and we’ve been snapped on the set of Stanley Kubrick’s film Barry Lyndon, in which O’Neal plays the title role. I’m there because my father, André Morell, is also in the film (my mother was the actress Joan Greenwood). His determination to keep me away from showbusiness has been thwarted by the long summer holidays. There is nowhere else for me to go. We are filming at Longleat House, whose grounds are littered with moth-eaten lions, dazed by drizzle. My father bribes me with handfuls of loose change to spend on the ‘attractions’, with the stern injunction that I must ‘NEVER go on set.’ I share my...


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