Internationally acclaimed actress, film and television star, entrepreneur, spokeswoman, author, proud mother of three, and noted among the most beautiful women in the world, by any definition, Jennifer O’Neill is one of a kind. With thirty-plus feature films, numerous television movies and series to her credit, she continues to be a major force in the industry.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to an English mother and a Spanish-Irish father, Ms. O’Neill’s career first began when her family moved from Connecticut to New York City. Blessed with great energy and beauty, Jennifer quickly entered international modeling at age fifteen while still a student at the prestigious Dalton School in Manhattan. Having developed a passion for horses while visiting her grandparents in Brazil, Jennifer saw modeling as a way to own her first steed. The world of magazine covers quickly lead to other goals, and, after auditioning, she was accepted into the Neighborhood Playhouse, New York’s esteemed school of acting. It only took a short while before her unique qualities were noticed by the great director Howard Hawks, who cast her to star opposite John Wayne in Rio Lobo. Jennifer was a leading actress, married and a mother by age twenty-one.
After her film debut, and against the advice of her agents, Jennifer accepted a role in the “small” film, Summer of ‘42. Her hauntingly beautiful portrayal of Dorothy made Jennifer O’Neill a household name, and today Summer of ‘42 is one of home videos’ most popular titles. The film has become a true classic with Jennifer’s performance hailed as legendary, not only by the public, but by her peers.
Stimulated by creative opportunities that lie behind the camera, Ms. O’Neill soon moved to Europe and placed herself under the tutelage of master Italian director Luchino Visconti, where she turned in an award winning performance in his final film, The Innocent, costarring Giancarlo Giannini. More importantly, with Visconti, she expanded her range as an actress and began to learn the art of film making from this world-renowned auteur. Returning home, Ms. O’Neill continued to star in a succession of profitable films such as Blake Edward’s The Carey Treatment, with James Coburn, Caravans, with Anthony Quinn, The Reincarnation of Peter Proud, with Michael Sarrazin, A Force of One, with Chuck Norris, Lady Ice, with Robert Duvall and Donald Sutherland, and the David Cronenberg blockbuster Scanners.
The first television Movie of the Week in which she starred, Love’s Savage Fury, scored a 39 share, making it ABC’s top-rated movie of the year. Her next television project, The Other Victim, costarring William Devane for CBS, was hailed as one of the years Top 10 films, followed by her own series Cover-Up (CBS). And of course, we’ve all seen her impressive spokeswoman campaign for CoverGirl - Jennifer’s unprecedented thirty-year endorsement of the product catapulted CoverGirl into the top selling makeup line in the country.
As if all this activity weren’t enough to fill the day, Ms. O’Neill is also a constant worker for charitable causes, having served as chairperson for the American Cancer Society as well as being a staunch supporter of the Retinitis Pigmetosa Foundation and the Arthritis Foundation. Most recently, she hosts a one hour special for World Vision shot in Africa concerning the HIV epidemic. In addition, she remains actively involved with her childhood love of animals, sponsoring the Jennifer O’Neill Tennis Tournament to benefit the ASPCA, and fund-raiser for Guiding Eyes for the blind. To date, Jennifer continues to successfully train and show champion horses and resides in Nashville, Tennessee.
As an author, Ms. O’Neill penned her autobiography, CoverStoryto be released in 2010. Her other published works include; From Fallen To Forgiven, You’re Not Alone and her fiction series - Circle of Friends: Just Off Main. Jennifer’s newest novels,All That Glitters and Ress-Q-Pets are also set for publication and film production.
Along with her books’ rave reviews have come corporate and testimonial speaking engagements that are both inspirational and practical in nature. By adding this new dimension to her roster of talents, Jennifer embraces the "one on one" sharing of life's experiences with a passion and enthusiasm that resonates with all generations.
The Official Jennifer O'Neill Website