Terry O'Neill Dies Aged 81

2nd February 2020

Photographer Terry O'Neill has died after a long battle with Prostate Cancer on Saturday 16th November.  The Queen awarded him a CBE in October for services to photography.

His many famous subjects included the Queen, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Brigitte Bardot, Michael Caine, Nelson Mandela, Judy Garland,  Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, and famous faces of the pop and film world during the 1960's and 1970's.  Peter Sellers would ring him up at 2am as therapy for his loneliness.

In 1959 he photographed Home Secretary Rab Butler asleep on a bench at Heathrow, earning £25, leading to photographing the Beatles next day, and moving into Fleet Street to work for the Daily Sketch.  He cut his teeth during the negative and print days, where you could only assess your picture, when it was developed in the darkroom.  Compliments and more compliments gave him access, and liking or loving his subject, the secret of his success.

Following thirteen years of marriage to Vera Day, he photographed Faye Dunaway in 1977 the day after her Academy Award, and six years later they were married, which lasted for four years.  Falling into depression, Terry O'Neill returned from the US to the UK.

He kept his negatives and contact sheets, and went on to exhibit his work, sell his iconic pictures, and publish many books.

He is survived by his wife, the former model agency chief Laraine Ashton, and his three children.

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