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Jennifer O’Neill Biography
Jennifer O’Neill is a Brazilian-American actress, model, author, and speaker, known for her role in the 1971 film Summer of ’42 and modeling for CoverGirl cosmetics starting in the 1970s. She was born in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, on February 20, 1948. Her father Oscar (who died 2009 at age 91) was of Irish-Spanish descent and her mother Irene (“Rene”) was English. Whereas Elvis Presley was riding high on the fame of his hit record, “Blue Suede Shoes”, in 1956, in 1957–when Jennifer was nine years old–schoolmates humiliated her over a pair of pink suede shoes. Things got worse when her parents refused to buy her a horse (she has always loved horses), and got her a cat, instead.
At age 14 she attempted suicide with her mother’s sleeping pills; her parents only saw this as an attempt for attention. She woke up from a two-week coma to find that the incident had shocked her body into getting her period. She continued to ride horses every chance she could. However, at age 15 she broke her back and neck in three places when a horse she was riding fell on her. There would be no more horseback riding when her family moved from Connecticut to New York City soon after.
O’Neill started her highly successful modeling career in New York City and later in Paris, also when she was only 15, as a means to make money to buy her own horse. By age 15 she had also surrendered her virginity to a 20-year-old boyfriend in college–” . . . so he would love me”–who had given her his fraternity pin. She was a student at Dalton School in Manhattan, and she got into New York’s Neighborhood Playhouse for aspiring actors but dropped out to get married at age 17.
Her first film was For Love of Ivy (1968). Although it was a small start, she did attract the interest of director Howard Hawks, who cast her to star opposite John Wayne in Rio Lobo (1970). Her agent fought hard to get her an audition for the main role in the surprise sleeper, Summer of ’42 (1971). This movie gave her national and international recognition, despite her having appeared for only 12 minutes; unfortunately, she would never have such a great role or film again. She continued to appear in profitable, though less critically acclaimed, movies, from Lady Ice (1973) through Scanners (1981).
In 1976 she was briefly in Europe, where she appeared in The Flower in His Mouth (1975) (aka “The Flower in His Mouth), as school teacher Elena Bardi, her only European film, in which she appeared totally nude. She also worked with Italian director Luchino Visconti and gave an award-winning performance in his last film, L’Innocente (1976). At age 49 she appeared in the 1997 Playboy Channel cable TV movie The Corporate Ladder (1997).
However, she is most remembered for her decades-long “Cover Girl” campaign–in an industry where some models are “over the hill” at age 25, she had a 30-year run with this makeup product. Due to this long-standing contract, she is listed in the Smithsonian Institute’s American Museum of History, Center for Commercial Advertising.
O’Neill has had her ups and downs, successes and failures, marriages and divorces, and tragedies. She married her first husband, at age 17, in 1965 and had a daughter, Aimee Rossiter. During her first marriage, she checked herself into a mental hospital for treatment for mental stress and underwent electroshock therapy.
O’Neill got her first divorce in 1971 and had an abortion before she married her second husband in 1972, this time to former advertising executive and novelist and student of Eastern philosophy Joseph Roster, but that marriage also ended in a divorce, in 1974. O’Neill relates in her 1999 autobiography that it was only at age 24 with this second husband that she began to experience orgasms, having had ” . . . no idea of what a woman was capable of experiencing physically until this relationship.”
O’Neill married her third husband in 1975, Nick De Noia, her producer, and choreographer; he was also the original choreographer for the Chippendale dancers. She divorced him in 1976; he was found shot to death with a large-caliber handgun in April of 1987.
O’Neill married to husband #4 in 1978–Jeff Barry, a British drummer, singer, and songwriter (“Leader of the Pack”; “I’m a Believer”; “Sugar, Sugar”), but divorced him in 1979.
O’Neill then married her manager, John Lederer, husband #5, in 1979 and he gave her a son, Reis. However, he also went through all her money. O’Neill knew at the time of the marriage that he was a convicted felon, but married him anyway; Lederer was subsequently convicted of sexually abusing her daughter Aimee three to four times a week for more than four years. O’Neill divorced Lederer in 1983.
She amassed money again and had a son, Cooper, with husband #6, Richard A. Alan, her limo driver with whom she went on a blind date and married him in 1984. Alan was unfaithful to her with prostitutes and she divorced him in 1987 but re-married him in 1993; Alan later divorced her.
At age 44 O’Neill married husband #7, Neil L. Bonin, in December of 1992 in Travis, TX, during a cross-country car trip, O’Neill’s five-year-old son serving as the best man. O’Neill had met Bonin in a New York restaurant and he was 11 years her junior; O’Neill had the marriage annulled in May of 1993 after just five months, due to fraud which induced her into the marriage. She then married Mervin Sidney Louque, a music producer (her eighth husband, ninth marriage) in 1996 and she’s still married to him.
In a 2008 interview, O’Neill stated that she had four grandchildren.
At age 34 O’Neill also suffered a gunshot wound. Police officers in Bedford, NY, who interviewed the actress in the mansion of her 25-room, 30-acre French-style estate, report that on October 23, 1982, O’Neill said that had she shot herself accidentally in the navel with her then-husband John Lederer’s .38-cal. revolver in the bedroom, while she was trying to determine if it was loaded.
O’Neill reports that at age thirty-eight in 1986, she became a born-again Christian. She also describes many of her life experiences, including her marriages and career, getting shot, her guilt over her abortion and her depression, the sexual abuse of her daughter, and the drug abuse of one of her children, to her move to her Tennessee farm in 1996 and her arrest for driving while intoxicated, in her 1999 autobiography, ”Surviving Myself”.
O’Neill has served as chairperson for the American Cancer Society, is a breast cancer survivor herself (benign tumor), and has worked for other charitable causes, such as the March of Dimes, the National Right to Life, the Retinitis Pigmetosa Foundation and the Arthritis Foundation and the Silent No More national campaign. She is a tireless and ardent pro-life advocate for healing for post-abortion women, having experienced an abortion and nine miscarriages during the course of having her own three children.
She wrote her first book, an autobiography “Surviving Myself”, in 1999, is the author of 8 books and remains active as a motivational speaker to groups of Christian women.
O’Neill and her husband live in Nashville, Tennessee, where her two sons also reside and where she can, at last, ride horses to her heart’s content at her horse ranch called Hillenglade.
Jennifer O’Neill Age
Jennifer O’Neill is a Brazilian-American actress, model, author, and speaker, who is 71 years old as of 2019. She was born on 20 February 1948, in Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Jennifer O’Neill Children
- Aimee Rossiter
- Reis Michael
- Cooper Alan
Jennifer O’Neill Image
Jennifer O’Neill Photo
Jennifer O’Neill Personal life | Husband | Married
O’Neill has been married nine times to eight husbands (she married, divorced, and remarried her sixth husband). She has three children from three fathers.:95:174:209
- Dean Rossiter (1965 – 1971) (divorced) (1 child)
- Joseph Koster (1972 – 1974) (divorced)
- Nick De Noia (1975 – 1976) (divorced)
- Jeff Barry (1978 – 1979) (divorced)
- John Lederer (1979 – 1983) (divorced) (1 child)
- Richard Alan Brown (1986 – 1989) (divorced) (1 child)
- Neil L. Bonin (1992 – 1993) (annulled)
- Richard Alan Brown (1993 – 1996) (divorced)
- Mervin Sidney Louque, Jr. (1996 – present)
Ex-husband Nick de Noia was later murdered in 1987 by one of his former associates.
On October 23, 1982, O’Neill suffered a gunshot wound in her home on McClain Street in Bedford, New York. Police officers who interviewed O’Neill determined that she had accidentally shot herself in the abdomen with a. caliber revolver at her 30-acre, 25-room French-style estate while trying to determine if the weapon was loaded. Her fifth husband at the time, John Lederer, was not in the house when the handgun was discharged, but two other people were in the house. Detective Sgt. Thomas Rothwell was quoted as having said that O’Neill “didn’t know much about guns.”
On October 12, 1984, O’Neill’s co-star in the Cover-Up television series, Jon-Erik Hexum, accidentally injured himself on the show’s set, unaware that a gun loaded with a blank cartridge could still cause extreme damage from the effect of expanding powder gasses. He died six days later.
In her 1999 autobiography Surviving Myself, O’Neill describes many of her life experiences, including her marriages, career, and her move to her Tennessee farm in the late 1990s. She has said that she wrote the autobiography (her first book) “… at the prompting of her children.”
Jennifer O’Neill Early life
O’Neill was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her mother was English and her father was a Brazilian of Portuguese, Spanish and Irish ancestry. She and her older brother Michael were raised in New Rochelle, New York, and Wilton, Connecticut. When she was 14, the family moved to New York City.
On Easter Sunday, 1962, O’Neill attempted suicide because the move would separate her from her dog Mandy and horse Monty — “her whole world”. That same year, she was discovered by the Ford modeling agency. By age 15, while attending the prestigious Dalton School in Manhattan, she was appearing on the covers of Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Seventeen, earning $80,000 ($663,000 today) in 1962.:71
An accomplished equestrienne, O’Neill won upwards of 200 ribbons at horse show competitions in her teens. With her modeling fees, she had purchased a horse, named Alezon. However, it once balked before a wall at a horse show, throwing her, and breaking her neck and back in three places.:83 She attended New York City’s Professional Children’s School and the Dalton School in Manhattan, but dropped out to wed her first husband, IBM executive Dean Rossiter, at age 17.
O’Neill has dual citizenship, as she maintained her Brazilian citizenship, being then a Brazilian and American citizen.
Jennifer O’Neill Career
In 1968 O’Neill landed a small role in For Love of Ivy. In 1970 she played her first lead role in Rio Lobo.
O’Neill may be best remembered for her role in the 1971 film Summer of ’42, where she played Dorothy Walker, the early-20s wife of an airman who has gone off to fight in World War II. She stated in a 2002 interview that her agent had to fight to even get a reading for the part, since the role had been cast for an “older woman” to a “coming of age” 15-year-old boy, and the director was only considering actresses over the age of thirty, Barbra Streisand being at the top of the list.
O’Neill continued acting for the next two decades. She appeared in Hollywood feature films, made-for-television films, and European films, such as Italian director Luchino Visconti’s last film, The Innocent (1976). When her movie career slowed, O’Neill took roles in series television. She starred in NBC’s short-lived 1982 prime time soap opera Bare Essence and played the lead female role on the 1984 CBS television series Cover Up.
O’Neill is listed in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History’s Center for Advertising History for her long-standing contract with CoverGirl cosmetics as its model and spokesperson in ads and television commercials.
Jennifer O’Neill Net worth
Jennifer O’Neill is a Brazilian American actress, model, author, and speaker who has a net worth of $10 million. Jennifer O’Neill was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in February 1948. She was a model for CoverGirl cosmetics in television commercials and ads. As an actress she starred as Lady Bobbi Rowan on the television series Bare Essence in 1983 and as Danielle Reynolds on the TV series Cover Up from 1984 to 1985.
She also appeared in several films including For Love of Ivy, Rio Lobo, Summer of ’42, Such Good Friends, The Carey Treatment, Lady Ice, The Flower in His Mouth, The Innocent, The Psychic, A Force of One, Steel, Scanners, I Love N.Y., The Prince and the Surfer, Last Ounce of Courage, I’m Not Ashamed, and more. Jennifer O’Neill has been married nine times to eight husbands including Jeff Barry. She is an author who wrote From Fallen To Forgiven.
Jennifer O’Neill TV shows
- Cover Up
1984 – 1985
- Bare Essence
- The Visual Bible: Acts
Jennifer O’Neill Movies
Summer of ’42 1971, Rio Lobo 1970, Scanners 1981, The Reincarnation of Peter Proud 1975, The Carey Treatment 1972, Lady Ice 1973, A Force of One 1979, El Inocente 1976, Caravans 1978, The Psychic 1977, Such Good Friends 1971, The Cover Girl Murders 1993, I’m Not Ashamed 2016, Time Changer 2002, Whiffs 1975, Last Ounce of Courage 2012, Doonby 2013, The Flower in His Mouth 1975, Love’s Savage Fury 1979.
Invasion of Privacy 1992, For Love of Ivy 1968, Cloud Dancer 1980, Silver Strand 1995, Jonathan Stone: Threat of Innocence 1994, The Prince and the Surfer 1999, The Other Victim 1981, The Corporate Ladder 1996, Discretion Assured Billy: The Early Years 2008, Full Exposure: The Sex Tapes Scandal 1989, Perry Mason: The Case of the Shooting Star 1986, I Love N.Y. 1987, The Visual Bible: Acts 1994, Personals 1990, The Red Spider Bad Love 1992, Glass Houses 1972, Perfect Family 1992, Steel 1979, Some Kind of a Nut 1970, Set Apart 2009, Committed 1991, The Ride 1997, And Bare Essence: The Final Chapter On Music Row Cover Up Chase Glory Days
Jennifer O’Neill Activism
In 2004, O’Neill wrote and published From Fallen To Forgiven, a book of biographical notes and thoughts about life and existence. O’Neill recounted how she underwent an abortion while dating a Wall Street socialite after the divorce from her first husband.
Her regrets over the experience contributed to her becoming a pro-life activist and a born-again Christian in 1986 at age 38. She also began counseling abstinence to teens. Concerning her abortion, she writes:
I was told a lie from the pit of hell: that my baby was just a blob of tissue. The aftermath of abortion can be equally deadly for both mother and unborn child. A woman who has an abortion is sentenced to bear that for the rest of her life.
O’Neill continues to be active as a writer working on her second autobiography, CoverStory, an inspirational speaker, and fundraiser for the benefit of crisis pregnancy centers across the United States. She has also served as the spokesperson for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, an organization for people who regret that they or their partners had abortions.
O’Neill works for other charitable causes, such as Retinitis Pigmentosa International and the Arthritis Foundation. As a breast cancer survivor, she was once a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society. She hosted a one-hour television special for World Vision International shot in Africa concerning the HIV epidemic.
She sponsors the Jennifer O’Neill Tennis Tournament to benefit the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and a fund-raiser for Guiding Eyes for the Blind.