Works by Terry O'Neill at Sotheby's
Terry O'Neill Biography
Beginning with his early snapshots of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, which still reverberate today with spontaneity and verve, Terry O’Neill has pioneered rock-and-roll reportage and helped to define the celebrity culture of the Sixties and beyond.
Terence Patrick O’Neill was born in London, England, on July 30, 1938. O’Neill’s first professional work was for an airline operating out of Heathrow Airport, and in the late 1950s he began contributing images to the populist tabloid The Daily Sketch. By the early 1960s, he was photographing such luminaries as Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir Winston Churchill. Among his most groundbreaking images are his backstage candid photos of popular musicians; having captured the Beatles and Stones as youthful upstarts, O’Neill obtained a letter of introduction from Frank Sinatra’s former wife Ava Gardner, and was granted unprecedented access to the Chairman’s private life for over three decades. In 1977, O’Neill photographed his girlfriend, Faye Dunaway, lounging by the pool at the Beverley Hills Hotel, her just-won Oscar for Best Actress standing next to her breakfast tray; this languid portrait of Hollywood decadence has remained O’Neill’s most memorable single composition. More recently, O’Neill has photographed Queen Elizabeth, Daniel Craig and Amy Winehouse. He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society in 2004 and appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2019. He continues to live and work in London.
O’Neill’s work can be found in such museums as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.