What a run Ryan O’Neal had in the Seventies. The boxer turned actor was born Charles Samuel Eldridge Patrick Ryan O’Neal III to screenwriter Charles O’Neal and actress Patricia Callaghan and after paying his dues in a slew of TV shows he landed a lead in western series Empire then top-lined in Peyton Place becoming famous all over the world. And then there was Love Story. That was the big one, followed by non-stop hits among which are my personal favourites, What’s Up Doc?, Paper Moon (co-starring with his preternaturally gifted daughter Tatum), Barry Lyndon and The Driver. Stop! There were more, several of them, but somehow the wheels seemed to start coming off sometime around Green Ice, So Fine and Partners. He was married to two actresses, involved with more (La Streisand) but the big love affair with Farrah Fawcett-Majors (Lee Majors was his close friend) perhaps distracted him. He has always had an opacity (not a lack of technique) which lends itself equally to comedy and enigma, at home working with Kubrick (for whom he was great) and Bogdanovich (for whom he was hysterically funny) and Hill (for whom he was blankly expressive). More recently he has found a home in TV, doing good work in my beloved Miss Match and Bones and 90210 but occasionally he has a showy role in something like People I Know and we are reminded that this is a star, a really modern one, even with the family tragedies, terrible reality TV appearances and occasional public interviews of the car crash variety. He is a guy who is really of his time and will always be in the Top 2 Sexiest Men Alive (in my house at least). Happy birthday Ryan O’Neal!