The Photographer Terry O’Neill Is Eighty

Here: Jean Shrimpton, 1964. ‘People used to say she looked like a doll, so I took her to a doll’s hospital I used to pass on my way to the office. She was the best model I ever photographed, without a living doubt.’

Terrence Patrick “Terry” O’Neill is eighty. Born in Romford, Essex just over a year before the start of ww2 within ten years he was meeting celebrities at theatre stage doors collecting autographs for his mother. “Mum loved the theatre and collecting autographs but she was very shy so I would get them from people like Sir Laurence Oliver and Noel Coward.”

His first job in photography was in a photographic unit for an airline at London Airport ten or so years before it was renamed Heathrow. By accident he filmed the Home Secretary Rab Butler sleeping at the airport and it got the eye of Fleet Street editors. He was soon hired for the Daily Sketch in 1959.

His first professional job was photographing Laurence Olivier but he went on to take pictures of anyone who was anyone – from the Beatles and Judy Garland to the Royal Family.

“I’d do five or six jobs a day” he once remembered, “while the old timers wanted to do one and go back to the darkroom and play shove ha’penny” the hard work and energy meant that he soon became one of the top photographers of the Sixties. “Within two weeks I had photographed the Beatles and the Stones…nobody ever fazed me after that.” Around that time he got Diana Dors to sweep snow on a film set. Michael Winner was watching and said: ‘Either that guy is going to be a top photographer or he is going to be history within weeks.’ ”

h/t: flashbak

Elton John at home in London, 1975.

Faye Dunaway, Beverley Hills Hotel, March 29 1977. The morning after the night before.

Elizabeth Taylor makeup A Little Night Music 1977

Elton John does a handstand on his piano, London, 1972

Singer David Bowie wearing a smart hat and sunglasses during the filming of ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth’ in Los Angeles, 1975.

English actors Michael Caine and Geraldine Moffat star in the film ‘Get Carter’, 1970.

Michael Caine and Geraldine Moffat star in the film ‘Get Carter’, 1970.

English actor Michael Caine stops for a chat during the filming of Mike Hodges’ gangster classic ‘Get Carter’, circa 1971. In the background, on the left, is playwright John Osborne, who also stars in the film.

Rod Stewart at his home in Windsor 1971

Smoking a giant cigar, Beatles drummer Ringo Starr strikes a Churchillian pose outside 10 Downing Street, London, 1965

Winston Churchill, London, 1962

Alice Cooper with his wife and daughter at home, Los Angeles, 1980s

Sean Connery during the filming of Diamonds Are Forever.

Bobby Moore and Franz Beckenbauer, London, c. 1970

Jodie Foster, 1976

Lee Marvin, Denver, 1971

Audrey Hepburn, St Tropez 1967

Chuck Berry, St Louis

David Bailey – 1967

George Lazenby and Jill St John spreading sun cream, 1965

British actress Joan Collins wearing a long silk evening dress at home in London, mid 1970s

Yves Saint Laurent (1936 – 2008) with American actress Raquel Welch, 1975.

Goldie Hawn in London for filming There’s A Girl In My Soup directed by Roy Boulting with Peter Sellers 1970′

American actor Harrison Ford on the set of the wartime drama ‘Hanover Street’, directed by Peter Hyams, London, 1979

Goldie Hawn in London for filming There’s A Girl In My Soup directed by Roy Boulting with Peter Seller 1970′

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