Monday, June 17, 2024

Ryan O’Neal Got a Rare New York Times Obit from Famed Hollywood Reporter Aljean Harmetz


Ryan O’Neal has died, and it’s sad, of course. But there is a bright side.

O’Neal got a New York Times obit written by legendary Times Hollywood reporter Aljean Harmetz.

Aljean covered Tinseltown for the Times from the mid-70s through 1990. Her byline was constant and her scoops were spot on. This was before the internet and rumors flying around all day on Twitter. If you wanted to know the breaking news in Hollywood, it was all from Harmetz.

The brilliant reporter turns 93 this December 30th. Before she left the Times it seems like she stockpiled some obits for the morgue, or library of celebrities. The last one that appeared was two years ago, was for Jane Withers, aka Josephine the Plumber in Comet cleanser commercials.

Harmetz’s obits appear once a year or two. Who knows when they will run out? Her previous obits were for Sean Connery, Doris Day, Tab Hunter, Dina Merrill, Mickey Rooney, and Shirley Temple Black. Some of her older ones included Paul Newman, Shelley Winters, and Lena Horne. In other words, only Big Stars.

So congrats to Ryan. No Oscars but the top movie writer maybe in the history of the Times. Not bad!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also 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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