Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Actor Kevin O’Neal, known for his career in television and film in the early ’60s and ’70s, has died. He was 77.

According to his nephew Patrick, Kevin — the younger brother of Oscar-nominated actor Ryan O’Neal — died Saturday in his sleep.

“My dad’s brother, Kevin O’Neal, died Saturday morning 😔 (1/28/23). My uncle passed in his sleep and didn’t suffer for which we are thankful,” he said in a touching Instagram tribute on Sunday.

Alongside the tribute, Patrick shared images of his uncle and father together, including a still from the 1972 rom-com film What’s Up, Doc?, in which they were both cast.

In the post, Patrick explained: “Kevin had a wicked sense of humor, just like his older brother, and we have his stories to keep him in our hearts forever. Kevin was an actor, writer and producer. One of the great laughs from the classic film ‘What’s Up, Doc?’ came after Kevin told the judge… (see photo).”

While Kevin and Ryan would go on to share the screen in other projects, including 1969’s The Big Bounce and 1970’s Love Story, his nephew remembered his strong presence off-screen.

“When Kevin walked into a room you heard him before you saw him,” wrote Patrick. “That energy and personality is an old O’Neal trademark. Heaven better be ready for him! We send our love and support to his son Garrett. RIP KO! Kevin O’Neal was 77.”

Kevin’s acting credits date back to 1961 when he first appeared on the small screen.

NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS, Kevin O'Neal, 1964

That year, he made guest appearances on episodes of The DeputyThe Danny Thomas Show and The Donna Reed Show.

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Although he would later take on film roles in 1969’s The Trouble with Girls, and the 1975 musical At Long Last Love, he was most recognized for his role in the 1964 television series No Time for Sergeants. According to the show’s synopsis, Kevin portrayed Private Ben Whitledge, the best friend of the show’s lead character, Airman Will Stockdale (Sammy Jackson).

Kevin is survived by his brother Ryan, his son Garrett, his nephews Patrick and Griffin, and his Oscar-winning niece, Tatum O’Neal.