Late Actor Credited For Rise in Popularity of First Name ‘Ryan’

Ryan O’Neal, who’s role in 1970’s Love Story garnered an Oscar nomination for best actor, has died at age 82.

While he was best known for his acting, O’Neal’s impact may have been felt far beyond Hollywood thanks to babies born during the height of his career.

The actor’s son, Patrick O’Neal, shared his father’s passing in an Instagram post earlier today calling his dad a “hero.”

“He is a Hollywood legend. Full stop,” Patrick shared in the post. “The growth spurt of the first name Ryan can be traced back to my dad. That’s a fact.”

Data from supports Patrick’s claim that he dad can be credited for the name’s rise in popularity among expecting parents.

According to the website, “Ryan” went from the 288th most popular name for boys to the 20th most common name in a span of 10 years starting in 1970.

“Ryan” used as a girl’s name moved from 4,598th on the list in 1970 to a rank of 704 by 1980.

Ryan O’Neal’s role as Oliver in Arthur Hiller’s Love Story landed him an Oscar nomination in 1971. George C. Scott ended up winning best actor honors for the lead role in Patton.

People is reporting O’Neal is survived by four children: “Tatum and Griffin, who he shared with Joanna Moore; Patrick, who he shared with Leigh Taylor-Young; and Redmond James Fawcett O’Neal, who he shared with Farrah Fawcett.”

Ryan and Tatum O’Neal

Michael Buckner, Getty Images


According to IMDB, O’Neal was an amateur boxer before he starting taking stunt man gigs. That eventually led to the start of his acting career.

In addition to his Oscar nomination for Love Story, O’Neal also received a Golden Globe nod that year. He was once again nominated for a best actor Golden Globe in 1974 for Paper Moon, which also starred his daughter, Tatum.

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Gallery Credit: Kayla Thomas