‘No Time for Sergeants’ Actor Kevin O’Neal Dead at 77
The younger brother of Ryan O’Neal successfully worked as an actor throughout the ’60s and ’70s.
Kevin O’Neal, the younger brother of Oscar-nominated actor Ryan O’Neal, who had his own successful acting throughout the 1960s and 1970s, died in his sleep of natural causes on Jan. 28, in Thousand Oaks, California. He was 77.
The actor’s nephew, Patrick O’Neal, announced the sad news, along with a touching tribute on social media.
“Kevin had a wicked sense of humor, just like his older brother, and we have his stories to keep him in our hearts forever,” wrote Patrick. “When Kevin walked into a room you heard him before you saw him. 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!”
Born Geoffrey Garrett O’Neal on March 26, 1945, to actress Patricia Callaghan and novelist and TV screenwriter Charles O’Neal, Kevin quickly followed his older brother into show business, appearing on screen for the first time in The Deputy in 1961.
His television career continued with appearances in The Donna Reed Show, The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, The Fugitive, Gunsmoke, and more. Most notably, he played Private Ben Whitledge, the best friend of the main character, in the TV series No Time for Sergeants.
At the same time, Kevin had roles in a number of films, including Young Fury, Village of the Giants, The Mechanic, At Long Last Love, and one of Elvis Presley‘s last movies, 1969’s The Trouble with Girls.
He also starred alongside his brother Ryan in The Big Bounce, What’s Up, Doc? and Love Story.
Kevin is survived by his son, Garrett O’Neal, and his brother and nephew, as well as his other nephew, actor Griffin O’Neal, and his niece, Tatum O’Neal, who is currently the youngest person to win an Academy Award, earning the accolade when she was only 10 for the film Paper Moon.
Story by Devon Forward