Website last updated: 21-3-2024

In Memoriam of Star photographer Terry O'Neill (1938-2019)

By: Mark Cerulli
In Memoriam of Terry O'Neill (1938-2019)
The worlds of fashion, politics, cinema and yes, James Bond are all mourning the passing of acclaimed British photographer Terry O’Neill CBE after a long, stoic battle with prostate cancer. O’Neill was 81.

For almost 60 years he photographed “anyone who was anyone” from movie and rock stars to British royalty. As the photographic legend himself put it, “I photographed everyone worth photographing.” That lineup included the world of 007 – starting with the 1964 film Goldfinger, Terry O’Neill photographed every Bond, including Daniel Craig. His 00 portfolio even featured the 1967 “unofficial” spoof, Casino Royale.

He took the famous photos of the young, new Bond, George Lazenby, posing on the Thames riverbank with Big Ben rising behind him. When Sean Connery came back to the role, Terry joined him on location. His photos of Connery on the set of Diamonds Are Forever (1971) – including Connery looming over Peter Franks’ casket in a dark suit were stunning, perfectly conveying the star’s commanding presence. And yet, he also captured Connery’s lighter side – galivanting from the location catering truck with a broad smile and a full plate or sharing an ice cream with Jill St. John in the Nevada desert. When the role changed hands again, EON Productions wanted O’Neill behind the lens, so he was on location also for Live and Let Die (1973), snapping many of the now-classic publicity shots of Roger Moore.

George Lazenby posted on Instagram after hearing the news of Terry O'Neill's passing

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Really sad to hear my buddy Terry O'Neill has passed away. He took a bunch of pictures of me during the Bond casting process - my favourite was the shot of me in a suit at the lamppost in front of Big Ben. Terry was easy going and fun and relaxed - he could've been Australian! I last saw him in London in March 2019 at his club in Mayfair and we partied like teenagers with my dear friend and goddaughter @jodiekiddoffical! My condolences to Terry's family and friends. You'll be missed. Love George xx

Ett inlägg delat av George Lazenby (@georgelazenbyofficial)

Aside from Bond, O’Neill was known for his work with Elton John, Paul Newman, Rolling Stones, The Beatles, even a young Bruce Springsteen, who posed for him on LA’s Sunset Strip during the Born to Run tour in 1975. For 30 years, the photographer was granted unfettered access to Frank Sinatra – unprecedented for that highly private and volatile entertainer. That gesture spoke volumes about the level of trust Terry developed with his subjects.

He also snapped the iconic photograph of his then-girlfriend Faye Dunaway lounging by a Beverly Hills pool with her Oscar the morning after winning it for Network – the epitome of movie star glamour and cool. His work even extended to other worlds (cinematically) as he captured a young Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher in costume for a little movie called Star Wars.

There are other photographers plying these famous waters, but none had the eye or sense of style of Terry O’Neill. He was truly one of a kind and our condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues at Iconic Images in London.

Terry’s collaborators are preparing another book of his Bond images for release in 2020 titled Bond, Beauties and Villains: Inside the World of James Bond. His passing will make it even more of a must-have.



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