January 9, 2009 / 7:45 PM / 10 years ago

Actor Ryan O'Neal pleads guilty to drug charge

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Ryan O’Neal, best known as star of the 1970 film “Love Story,” pleaded guilty on Friday to possessing methamphetamine and was ordered to complete 18 months of drug counseling.

Actor Ryan O'Neal arrives at a gala dinner honoring Daily Variety columnist Army Archerd's 50th year with the entertainment industry trade paper, April 26, 2002 REUTERS/Jim Ruymen

As part of the plea, the 67-year-old actor’s case will be dismissed if he successfully completes the drug diversion program.

If O’Neal flunks the program or tests positive for drug use, a judge will determine further penalties against him, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s spokeswoman Jane Robison said.

O’Neal was arrested last September along with his 23-year-old son, Redmond, after a police search of their Malibu home turned up methamphetamine in both of their bedrooms.

Redmond O’Neal was on probation following a guilty plea in June 2008 for felony drug possession and misdemeanor driving under the influence, which led to the search of the home.

In the current case, father and son were charged with felony possession of methamphetamine. The younger O’Neal was also charged with possessing drug paraphernalia and pepper spray.

Redmond O’Neal’s arraignment in the case, which had been scheduled for Friday, was postponed until February 20.

Ryan O’Neal first rode to fame on the 1960s prime-time soap opera “Peyton Place” and was nominated for an Oscar for “Love Story,” a tear-jerker also starring Ali MacGraw.

More recently he has made guest appearances on the Fox drama “Bones.”

His daughter, Tatum O’Neal, won an Academy Award for starring alongside her father in the 1973 film “Paper Moon.”

Reporting by Dan Whitcomb and Xavier Briand

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