Ryan O'Neal's Son Patrick Reflects on Their Relationship (Exclusive)

ET spoke with the late actor's son at O'Neal's celebration of life event on Saturday.

Patrick O'Neal is proud to be paying tribute to his late father, actor Ryan O'Neal.

Patrick spoke with ET's Kevin Frazier at the memorial and celebration of life event he hosted on Saturday, sharing how happy he was to be "shining a light on my dad's career."

"Our relationship wasn't perfect all the time, but I love my dad," he reflected. "[As a kid] I was not wanting for anything. My dad pushed me, he was hard on me, but he always gave me an opportunity to succeed."

"And then at the end, he was so proud of me," continued the sportscaster. "When I was doing some Angels games, play-by-play, we'd talk on the phone. [He'd say] 'Son, I am so proud of you,' and oh my god, it just lit me up."

The celebration of life included mementos from O'Neal's career, including behind-the-scenes photos from his work, original reviews of his work, telegrams congratulating him on the success of his hit 1970 film, Love Story, and more.

"I love the Polaroids that I found from the '70s, and I put all those up," Patrick shared. "We had so much fun, so I think the Polaroids are probably number one, 'cause it shows a side of my dad that was just-- he was funny, he was loving, we had an unbelievable time."

O'Neal died peacefully on Dec. 8 at age 82. The cause of death was later revealed to be congestive heart failure, after the star had suffered from cardiomyopathy for years. 

Attendees at the memorial event included O'Neal's friends, family and former co-stars.

"That really means the world to me, it really does," Patrick noted. "David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel from Bones, they are such sweet people, and then seeing Alicia Silverstone."

Of course, O'Neal's closest co-star of all was his daughter, Tatum. The pair starred together in her debut film, Paper Moon, for which she won an Academy Award. Though their relationship also went through its ups and downs, they had reconnected prior to O'Neal's death.

"For my sister, Tatum, to be here really means the world to me," Patrick shared. "It's very special, I think, for her to be here. I think she's the greatest co-star of all time, and there she was, second row, watching."

"I'm not trying to gloss over [their] issues, but there were so many wonderful moments," Patrick said of Tatum's life and career alongside her father. "My dad loved Tatum so much. He took her everywhere."

"It's like, 'Really, you're taking Tatum to Studio 54?'" the proud brother added of his sister's childhood in the spotlight. "But yet, she was an Academy Award winner, she was big, she wanted to go."

"It was quite a life," he said of Ryan and Tatum. "I don’t think there’s ever, in Hollywood history, a father-daughter duo that can match them. There just isn't."


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