Photographer Terry O’Neill, who chronicled 60s London has died.
O’Neill shot all of the greats, like The Beatles, Bardot, Bowie and Liz Taylor to name a few. He died at home on Saturday night of prostate cancer.
His agent said,
“It is with a heavy heart that Iconic Images announces the passing of Terence ‘Terry’ O’Neill, CBE. As one of the most iconic photographers of the last 60 years, his legendary pictures will forever remain imprinted in our memories as well as in our hearts and minds.”
The biography on their website says:
“O’Neill realized that youth culture was a breaking news story on a global scale and began chronicling the emerging faces of film, fashion and music who would go on to define the swinging 60s. By 1965 he was being commissioned by the biggest magazines and newspapers in the world.”
O’Neill said of the Beatles:
“I was only 20, and the youngest photographer on Fleet Street. It was obvious that John was the one with the personality, so I put him in the front”.
O’Neill said Queen Elizabeth was the only person he ever shot that made him nervous.
“I researched some horse-racing jokes to break the ice and thank God she laughed.”
He was married to the actor Faye Dunaway for three years, with whom he had a son. A shot of Dunaway that O’Neill shot after her Oscar win Network in 1977 is included in the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection.
In an interview last year he mourned the loss of the kind of stars he liked to shoot,
“There’s nobody around now I’d want to photograph. Amy Winehouse was the last person – real talent. All the proper stars have gone.
The perfectionist in me always left me thinking I could have taken a better shot. But now when I look at photos of all the icons I’ve shot – like Mandela, Sir Winston Churchill and Sinatra – the memories come flooding back and I think: yeah, I did all right.”
Terry O’Neill was 81.
(Photo, screen grab, Terry O’Neill; via The Guardian)