Robinhood Auctions

Terry O’Neill


Terence Patrick O’Neill CBE (30 July 1938 – 16 November 2019) was a British photographer. He gained renown documenting the fashions, styles, and celebrities of the 1960s. O’Neill’s photographs capture his subjects candidly or in unconventional settings.

His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions. He was awarded an honorary fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society in 2004 and the society’s Centenary Medal in 2011. His work is held in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London.

O’Neill was born in Romford, East London,[5] and began his career working in a photographic unit for an airline at London’s Heathrow Airport. During this time, he photographed a sleeping figure in a waiting area who, by happenstance, was revealed to be Britain’s Home Secretary.[6] O’Neill thereafter found further employment on Fleet Street[7] with The Daily Sketch in 1959. His first professional job was to photograph Laurence Olivier.[8]

During the 1960s, in addition to photographing contemporary celebrities such as Judy Garland, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, he also photographed members of the British royal family[7] and prominent politicians, showing a more natural and human side to these subjects than had usually been portrayed.[citation needed]

O’Neill’s photographs of Elton John are among his best known. A selection of them appeared in the 2008 book Eltonography. Also considered among his most famous images[9] are a series of American actress Faye Dunaway (his girlfriend at the time) at dawn on 29 March 1977, lounging next to the swimming pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel the morning after winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for Network, with several newspapers scattered around her and her Oscar statuette prominently shown on a table beside her breakfast tray.[10][11] The series was photographed in both colour and black and white.

O’Neill was credited (as Terrence O’Neill) as an executive producer of the film Mommie Dearest (1981).[12] His only other film credit was for still photography for the opera film Aria (1987).[13]