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Charles O'Neal Papers

Identifier: MsC0360

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Scope and Contents

This collections is made up of Charles O'Neals papers, photographs, ephemera, and film and music materials.


  • Creation: 1938-1982
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1950-1969


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

Charles O'Neal, a film and television writer and the father of the actor Ryan O'Neal, died on Sunday at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 92. Mr. O'Neal, known as Blackie, was born in Raeford, N.C., and grew up in Atlanta. He briefly attended Georgia Tech before transferring to the University of Iowa, where he studied literature and played on the football team.

Mr. O'Neal went to New York City intent on becoming an actor. Supporting himself as a horse groom, a telephone repairman, and a bank clerk, he acted in the theater in New York, Southern California, and Chicago. He was a leading member of the Old Globe Shakespearean Repertory in San Diego and, with his wife, staged several productions at the Old Globe Theater, including Robinson Jeffers's verse drama "Tower Beyond Tragedy," with Judith Anderson.

After publishing a short story in Esquire in 1940, he turned to screen-writing. He is credited as a co-writer of "The Seventh Victim" (1943), "Cry of the Werewolf" (I 944) , "Montana" (1950), "Lassie's Great Adventure'9 (1963) and other films. He was the sole screenwriter of "The Missing Juror" (1944), "I Love a Mystery" (1945) and "Return of the Badmen" (1948). He later wrote numerous episodes for television series including "The Untouchables," "Lassie" and "The Californians." Collaborating with Abe Burrows and Ralph Blane, he turned his novel "The Three Wishes of Jamie McRuin" (1949) into a Broadway musical, "Three Wishes for Jamie." Starring John Raitt and Anne Jeffreys, it ran for 75 performances in 1952. With Victor Trivas, he wrote the novel "The Thirty-Second Day."

In addition to his son Ryan, he is survived by his wife, Patricia, another son, Kevin, a screenwriter, also of Beverly Hills, and five grandchildren, including the actors Tatum, Griffin and Patrick O'Neal.


7.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



American television and motion picture screenwriter and novelist. Father of actor Ryan O'Neal. Screenplays, teleplays, typescripts, correspondence.

Method of Acquisition

Charles O'Neal donated his papers to the University of Iowa Libraries in several installments, beginning in 1949.

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)