Ryan O’Neal On Farrah: “She’s Taught Us All How To Cope”

by | May 11, 2009 at 4:53 PM | TV News

NBC released excerpts from Meredith Vieira’s exclusive sit down with Ryan O’Neal about Farrah Fawcett‘s two-and-a-half-year battle with cancer. Vieira also talked to Fawcett’s close friend, Alana Stewart. The interviews will air Wednesday, May 13 and Thursday, May 14 on “Today.” O’Neal and Stewart have been alongside Fawcett throughout her struggle, and they each play a critical part in the documentary “Farrah’s Story,” the actress’s video diary airing on NBC Friday, May 15 from 9-11 PM ET.

The excerpt starts with VIera asking about Fawcett after she returned from Germany, where she sought experimental cancer treatment.

MEREDITH VIEIRA
So, you were optimistic at this point?

RYAN O’NEAL
Very. Very… Yes. And she was so happy. It’s insidious, cancer. It thinks – it let’s you think you’re ahead.

.

VIEIRA
And at times, she did think that, obviously.

O’NEAL
Many times. For a couple of years. She was athletic and healthy and hungry and beautiful. Everything was just as you remember about her. The first time I ever noticed, I walked with her and Redmond on the beach one day. We used to take that walk all the time to the rocks and back. And halfway there she stopped and said: Can we go back? And Red and I looked at each other and we knew that… See she could fool you because she always looked good. She looked really good. And he used to say to me: She’ll be all right. Look how nice she looks.

VIEIRA
When was that, that you took the walk? And you knew that she wasn’t very well?

O’NEAL
It must have been a time when he wasn’t in jail. So that was about five or six months ago.

VIEIRA
The way you just put that: A time when he wasn’t in jail…

O’NEAL
Well, he’s in jail so much. Poor, jerk. That’s almost ridiculous.

*****

VIEIRA
I know that so much has been written about your relationship with Farrah, the seventeen-year love affair, albeit sometimes tumultuous.

O’NEAL
Not that bad. Not so bad. I’ve had worse. (Laughter) Not since, but before.

VIEIRA
How would you describe the relationship that the two of you have?

O’NEAL
How would I describe it?

VIEIRA
Yeah.

O’NEAL
I don’t think I can now. I know this, that in the last two years I loved her more than I’ve ever loved her – ever. She’s so much more of a woman and a powerful, courageous, fearless and all those adjectives. And I look at her with awe.

VIEIRA
Is she stronger than you would’ve even imagined?


.

O’NEAL
Yeah. And she’s not afraid either. I never saw fear at all. She asked me once: Am I gonna make it? She asked me that a couple of weeks ago.

VIEIRA
What did you say?

O’NEAL
I said yeah, sure, you’ll make it. And if you don’t, I’ll go with you. And she said: Then stop the Geevec. And the Geevec’s the medicine that I take for my leukemia. So she made a joke. Stop the Geevec.

VIEIRA
Everybody calls you the rock. I get the feeling that maybe she’s the rock.

O’NEAL
She’s the rock. She taught us all how to cope. She’s extraordinary. I don’t know what I’ll do without her, to tell you the truth.

*****
VIEIRA
There’s been so much written about and speculated and all kinds of reports out in the media about the treatment that she got in Germany and was it really dangerous? Hocus pocus?

ALANA STEWART
It’s very traditional treatment for Germany. They go in through your main artery and they go into the organ and they inject chemo directly into the tumor or tumor. You know, into the organ. And he’s been doing it for fifteen years. It’s very standard procedure for him to do. They’re starting to do it now in trials here. But it’s nothing hocus-pocus. They’re not crazy, alternative things, they’re actually medical things. You know, by medical doctors.