Tatum O'Neal biography
God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness
Date of Birth: November 5, 1963
The daughter of actors Ryan O'Neal and Joanna Moore, Tatum Beatrice O'Neal was born in Los Angeles, California. Her parents divorced when she was just a toddler, and Tatum developed an ulcer while living with her drug-addicted mother. Her father later won custody of her and sent her to boarding school. When she was nine, he pulled her out of school to star opposite him in her first acting role, as the precocious Addie Loggins in Paper Moon (1973). Tatum became an instant celebrity, as well as the youngest person in the history of the Academy Awards to win an Oscar. Her father wanted her to take a break from acting, but she convinced him to allow her to continue when she was offered a role as a talented pitcher on an all-boys baseball team in The Bad News Bears (1976). The film was a hit, and she went on to play another precocious youngster in the feature Nickelodeon, again opposite her father, but the film was a box-office flop. An avid equestrian, she next played the title role in International Velvet (1978), convincingly portraying an 18-year-old Olympic rider while still only 14 years of age.
Two years later, she played a spoiled rich girl in Little Darlings (1980) opposite Kristy McNichol. The film was a big hit at the box office, but her next film, Circle of Two in which Tatum appeared topless while playing a teenager involved in a love affair with a much older man (Richard Burton), flopped. Her next films, Prisoners (1981) and Certain Fury (1985), were also badly received by public and critics alike. Her personal life was turbulent as well, with her father dating Farrah Fawcett, whom Tatum didn't get along with. When her father moved Fawcett into his home, Tatum and her younger brother Griffin were asked to leave. The teenagers moved to a nearby apartment.
A well-known figure at Hollywood parties from the time she was nine, Tatum turned to drugs as puberty set in. According to Tatum in an interview with Barbara Walters in 2002, her father Ryan advised her that she could keep slim if she took drugs. By 1986, when she married tennis player John McEnroe, she was heavily addicted. In 1991, she appeared in a television movie called 15 and Getting Straight, about teens in a rehab center, alongside Drew Barrymore and Corey Feldman, both also confessed addicts. Little Noises (1991) was ignored by the movie-going public, so Tatum turned to television once more to star in The Lawrencia Bembenek Story in 1993.
Her stormy marriage to McEnroe ended in divorce in 1994, with her ex-husband (just as her father had many years ago with Tatum) getting custody of their three children due to Tatum's addiction.
Tatum, who has been through rehab in the hopes that she will one day regain custody of her children, continues to work in movies, with her most recent appearance having been in Saving Grace (2008). On TV, she played a regular role on the series Rescue Me from 2005 to 1007 and has also appeared on Sex and the City, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and 8 Simple Rules... for Dating My Teenage Daughter.