Born on July 30, 1938 in London, England, O’Neill began his career as a commercial photographer, working at The Daily Sketch.
His portraits of celebrities — including Rolling Stones, the Beatles and members of the British Royal Family — were noted for their unposed, intimate nature, and O’Neill soon rose to fame in the 1960s. His relationship with Faye Dunaway resulted in some of the most iconic photographs of the American actress, including a memorable series of images of Dunaway on the morning after her Best Actress Academy Award win in 1977.
O’Neill’s celebrity and fashion photography has been credited with defining and mythologizing the collective image of “Swingin’ 60s” London.
No other living photographer has embraced the span of fame, capturing the icons of our age from Winston Churchill to Nelson Mandela, from Frank Sinatra and Elvis to Amy Winehouse, from Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot to Nicole Kidman, as well as every James Bond from Sean Connery to Pierce Brosnan.
He photographed The Beatles and The Rolling Stones when they were still struggling young bands in 1963, pioneered backstage reportage photography with David Bowie, Elton John, The Who, Eric Clapton and Chuck Berry and his images have adorned historic rock albums, movie posters and international magazine covers.