One of Ryan O'Neal's four children called in to St. Paul-based MyTalk107.1 FM to rip into talk show hosts for making fun of his dad, who's been promoting a book, "Both of Us: My Life with Farrah."
Patrick O'Neal, a FOX Sports Network-West Prime Ticket sportscaster based in LA, took umbrage with the hosts of the "Jason & Alexis Show" using a cuckoo bird sound effect while discussing Ryan's interviews on NBC's "Today Show" and ABC's "The View."
Said Patrick: "I thought your segment was childish. You do a radio show where you do little cuckoo sound effects for my father. I think your segment was dumb and I'm calling to defend my father. You can cut me off if you want. I know you're probably afternoon drive, but the bottom line is you're making fun of my dad.
"You're not going to hear from Griffin because he's in jail. You're not going to hear from Redmond because he's in rehab. But I heard your show and I wanted the people in Minnesota to know my father, Ryan O'Neal, is a good man. He did the best he could as a parent. Those kids had some tough moms. My dad is not responsible that those grownups cannot take care of their lives."
Patrick, Ryan's son from his second marriage to actor Leigh Taylor-Young, is the only O'Neal progeny who has not had a bout with drug addiction. Griffin and his sister Tatum O'Neal were Ryan's children from his first marriage to actor Joanna Cook Moore.
Griffin, who claims to have been introduced to cocaine at age 11 by his father, once had his two front teeth knocked out during a fight with his father. Various media have reported that Griffin is currently not speaking to his father, while Tatum is participating in "Ryan and Tatum: The O'Neals," an Oprah network "docu-series." Redmond O'Neal is Ryan's son with the late Farrah Fawcett, Ryan's companion of nearly 30 years.
While lancing into the radio show hosts, Patrick calmly noted, "I hosted a show called 'Minnesota Sports Tonight' -- you can look it up. I like your state. I did overnight radio. I know you've got to put some bells and whistles on. You cut me off if you want. Good for you for having the balls to [put me on air]. But you're talking about my dad. He's got prostate cancer, melanoma on his nose and he's in remission from leukemia. He's a 71-year-old man trying to do these interviews the best he can."
Patrick has taken a greater lead in his defense of his father than even Ryan O'Neal.
Ryan claims he was never trained on how to be a father, as if anyone else is, and also weakly asserted that therapy was not as prevalent when he became a parent.
"Were you a bad parent?" Matt Lauer asked Ryan on the "Today Show."
"Looks like it, doesn't it? I suppose I was," said Ryan O'Neal.
While calculating the collateral damage of his bad parenting, Ryan ticked off the names of his first two kids with well-publicized drug issues and quipped, "Who's the other one?" before adding Redmond's name to the list of his adult children whom he says are now responsible for themselves. Apparently Ryan doesn't know most parents do their best to lay a good foundation to head off such problems in adulthood.
On "Jason & Alexis," Jason Matheson, who also works for FOX 9, had expressed discomfort with Ryan's "little side comments."
Patrick to the defense: "He's always done that. You don't know him. You just don't know who my dad is. He cracks jokes. There are a lot of people [who] feel Matt Lauer asked unfortunate questions, put [Ryan] in an unfortunate position."
Jason said: "Now Patrick, you're a broadcaster in LA. I think that's a little unfair. He's on the 'Today Show' promoting a book about his personal life, and Matt asked questions about the book. He kept referring to passages in the book. It shouldn't be a shock that you're asked personal questions."
After the interview Jason told me: "That was one of the most tense interviews I've ever done."
On Wednesday morning, Alexis Thompson was still perplexed by Patrick's call.
"Why call into our little radio show? There are so many other people [who have been savaging Ryan O'Neal's TV interviews for this book].... The ladies of 'The View' ripped him a new one. We're not the only ones saying it was a crazy interview.
"Of all the shows, to call into our show? Then 'Who are you?' to verify that he was the son of Ryan O'Neal -- it ended up being a contentious thing.
"He's a sportscaster, he should know the deal. We rarely hear about Patrick. I was thinking this was maybe his opportunity to get himself in the spotlight?"
My attempts to get Patrick O'Neal to explain why he made the call and get FOX Sports Network to confirm that that was indeed Ryan O'Neal's son on the line have not been successful.
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