At age ten, Tatum O'Neal became the youngest Oscar winner in history for her performance in the film classic Paper Moon. She was hailed as a new kind of child star -- sassy and precocious -- for a hip, cynical age. As the sidekick to her father, the flamboyant star and man-about-town Ryan O'Neal, she became a fixture at the most glamorous Hollywood parties and counted celebrities ranging from Cher to Stanley Kubrick among her childhood friends.
But behind the glittering facade of Tatum's life lay heartbreak: abandonment, abuse, and neglect. Her alcoholic mother, the actress Joanna Moore, drifted in and out of her life. Her father, saddled with both Tatum and her brother Griffin, grew increasingly punishing and distant, especially after moving in with his longtime love, Farrah Fawcett. By her late teens, Tatum -- though a working actress with ten movies to her credit -- had begun a perilous slide into self-destruction.
Then, just before her twenty-first birthday, Tatum met the man who would become her husband: the explosive tennis great John McEnroe. They had three children, Kevin, Sean, and Emily, in quick succession, followed by one of the messiest high-profile divorces on record. With the collapse of her marriage and no real family to turn to, Tatum succumbed to the demons of her past, which would nearly kill her.
Now she has emerged clean and sober, rediscovering herself as an actress, mother, and wonderfully vibrant woman in what she considers the prime of her life.
A Paper Life is a story of strength and courage: unflinchingly honest, yet poignant, often funny, and unfailingly uplifting. It is a tale of triumph steeped in Hollywood lore -- and an inspiring testament to the healing power of love.
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Tatum O'Neal made her screen debut as a pint-size con artist in the 1973 film Paper Moon, costarring with her father, Ryan O'Neal, and winning that year's Academy Award for best supporting actress. She has been acting on and off ever since, notably in such memorable movies as The Bad News Bears (1976) and Basquiat (1996). Married at age twenty-two to John McEnroe, she is the mother of three children. She lives in New York City.From AudioFile:
"Nauseous, nauseous, nauseous," Tatum O'Neal confides to her diary during her first pregnancy. The comment could be applied to the events in A PAPER LIFE, which might well be titled "A Poisoned Life." The physical and mental abuse of her father, actor Ryan O'Neal, merges with her nightmarish marriage to bad boy tennis superstar John McEnroe, whose violent, irrational behavior on the courts spills over into their private life. O'Neal also confesses to her harrowing struggles with drug addiction. O'Neal's narration is stiff and subdued for that of a seasoned actress, but when she relives her vigil with her dying alcoholic mother and tragic moments with her children, the heartbreak in her voice is so real, so honest, that imperfections can be forgiven. M.T.B. © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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