RIP Beatles, Rolling Stones Photographer Terry O'Neill

Europa Press/Europa Press via Getty Images
Photo Credit
Europa Press/Europa Press via Getty Images

Photographer Terry O'Neill, who photographed The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and an iconic fleet of other Sixties superstars died Saturday after a long battle against prostate cancer. He was 81.

"It is with a heavy heart that Iconic Images announces the passing of Terence 'Terry' O'Neill, CBE," shared a spokeswoman from his agency. "Terry was a class act, quick-witted and filled with charm. Anyone who was lucky enough to know or work with him can attest to his generosity and modesty." 

"As one of the most iconic photographers of the last 60 years, his legendary pictures will forever remain imprinted in our memories as well as in our hearts and minds." 

Terry IG


Born in 1938 in London, O'Neill was a frontman in documenting the cultural current of the Sixties, cementing the visual vibe of the time by working with some of music and film's most recognizable faces, including Elizabeth Taylor, Amy Winehouse, Michael Caine, and Frank Sinatra.

He noted to the Guardian, "When I worked with Frank [Sinatra], he told me to be a fly on the wall, and that's what I was. I never realized that these photos would live on for as long as they did."

The British photographer also photographed the Queen of England twice, sharing with BBC how he managed to make the queen laugh during a photo shoot in 1992 by telling her a horse-racing joke.

Earlier this year, O'Neill shared how his young age and eager ambitions enabled him to be in the right place at the right time, thus succeeding his successful work with The Beatles with photographing the Rolling Stones. 

"I was asked to go down to Abbey Road studios and take a few portraits of this new band. I didn't know how to work with a group - but because I was a musician myself and the youngest on-staff by a decade - I was always the one they'd ask," O'Neill reflected. "I took the four young lads outside for better light. The portrait ran in the papers the next day and the paper sold out. That band became the biggest band in the world; The Beatles." 

Elton John paid his respects on his Twitter, tweeting, "Terry O' Neill took the most iconic photographs of me throughout the years, completely capturing my moods. He was brilliant, funny and I absolutely loved his company..."


Terry O’Neill (1938-2019), RIP

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Last month, O'Neill received the C.B.E. award (Commander of the Most Excellent Order for the British Empire) for his services to photography, in addition to his 2004 reception as an honorary fellow of the Royal Photographic Society.

O'Neill is survived by his wife Laraine Ashton and his three children. 

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