We’ve kind of figured out by now that Ryan O’Neal was a terrible father. All of his kids have had drug problems, from Tatum and Griffin to Redmond, his son with Farrah Fawcett.

But now there’s even good historical evidence. Allegra Huston, sister of Anjelica, has nothing good to say about Ryan in her beautifully written memoir, “Love Child.”

She paints a picture of O’Neal as abusive and out of control, narcissistic, and negligent. When Allegra goes to stay with Ryan and Anjelica in the mid 1970s, Griffin is about 13 and smoking pot in his room. Tatum’s closet is filled with designer clothes more appropriate for an adult. They are also sprayed with an expensive perfume.

Allegra Huston writes with an unerring eye. How she lived through Hollywood in the 70s as an abandoned teen is the real story here. Her mother, Ricki Soma Huston, died when she was 4. Allegra, much younger than Anjelica, was raised to think famed and much older director John Huston was her father. She’s raised by nannies, distant relatives, and Huston’s fifth wife’s parents. Oliver Twist had it easier, frankly.

There are plenty of good Hollywood tidbits in “Love Child,” but none as biting as the ones about O’Neal. Seeing him on the Farrah Fawcett cancer special a couple of weeks ago, it’s hard to imagine this is the same person. But then again: in 2007, O’Neal was arrested for assaulting son Griffin. In 2008, he was arrested for alleged possession of narcotics along with son Redmond. This past January, O’Neal pleaded guilty to a felony drug charge. He avoided jail by going into an 18 month drug program.

Sounds like Allegra and Anjelica were lucky to get away from Ryan O’Neal when they had the chance. Anyway, “Love Child” is the Hollywood summer read. Don’t miss it.

Author
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. He wrote the Intelligencer column for NY Magazine in the mid 90s, reporting on the OJ Simpson trial, as well as for the real Parade magazine (when it was owned by Conde Nast), and has written for the New York Observer, Details, Vogue, Spin, the New York Times, NY Post, Washington Post, and NY Daily News among many publications. He is the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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