Kevin O'Neal Dead: 'No Time For Sergeants' Actor, Brother of Ryan O'Neal, Was 77

Kevin O'Neal, the younger brother of Oscar-nominated actor Ryan O'Neal who was also known for his career in television and film throughout the early '60s and '70s, has died. The No Time for Sergeants star died Saturday, Jan. 28 in his sleep of natural causes in Thousand Oaks, California, his nephew, Patrick O'Neal, Ryan's son, announced. He was 77.

Patrick confirmed his uncle's death in an Instagram tribute, where he shared a series of photos of his uncle and father together, including a still from the 1972 rom-com film What's Up, Doc?, in which they both starred. In the caption, he wrote, "My dad's brother, Kevin O'Neal, died Saturday morning (1/28/23). My uncle passed in his sleep and didn't suffer for which we are thankful." Patrick went on to share how his uncle "had a wicked sense of humor, just like his older brother, and we have his stories to keep him in our hearts forever," adding that when he "walked into a room you heard him before you saw him. That energy and personality is an old O'Neal trademark." He also noted that O'Neal was an actor, writer and producer.

Born Geoffrey Garrett O'Neal in Los Angeles, O'Neal's acting career began in the early 1960s when he first appeared on the small screen. His first credits came in 1961 with appearances on episodes of The Deputy, The Danny Thomas Show, and The Donna Reed Show, per Deadline. He went on to star in The Twilight Zone, My Three Sons, Wagon Train, Gidget, Perry Mason, The Fugitive, Gunsmoke, Please Don't Eat the Daises, Bonanza, Mod Squad, Daniel Boone, and Lancer. He was best known for his role as Private Ben Whitledge on No Time for Sergeants, which was based on a novel by Mac Hyman. The NBC series, produced by George Burns' production company and Warner Bros, ran for one season between 1964 and 1965.
 
His acting career also included several roles in films, with O'Neal appearing alongside his brother in What's Up, Doc? as well as 1969's The Big Bounce, 1970's Love Story, and 1973's The Thief Who Came to Dinner. He also appeared opposite Elvis Presley in the latter's 1969 feature film The Trouble With Girls.
 
O'Neal is survived by his son Garrett O'Neale, brother Ryan O'Neale, niece Oscar-winning niece Tatum O'Neale, and nephews Griffin O'Neale and Patrick O'Neale. Online, tributes for the actor have poured out, with one fan writing, "Sad. No Time for Sergeants is one of my all time favorite movies."