Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Redmond O'Neal's Final Words to Farrah: A Promise to Be Good

Redmond O'Neal's final conversation with his dying mother Farrah Fawcett allowed him to express a vow to turn around his troubled life, says his father, Ryan O'Neal.

"I held the phone to her ear, so I'm not exactly sure, but I think it was about regret," the elder O'Neal tells Meredith Vieira in a Today show interview airing Tuesday. "And the horror of, of not being able to see her again. And the promise – the promise of a good life. Of a life that she would have be proud of."

Fawcett, who died of cancer on June 25, had not seen her incarcerated son since April, when the 24-year-old was granted a court-approved personal visit to her bedside. He was also permitted to attend, in handcuffs, her June 30 funeral. Redmond is currently serving time at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic, Calif., for violating probation on a previous drug conviction.

Ryan O'Neal, Fawcett's longtime companion, says he is personally answering every letter of condolence received. His other job, the 68-year-old admits, is being strong for Redmond, whom the actor calls "her legacy. And he knows that, finally. It's clear. And he has a plan – a wonderful plan in mind to restore order in his life. And he will, with my help."

Her Final Days

Describing Fawcett's passing at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica as "awful," O'Neal says her physician, Dr. Lawrence Prio, alerted him and Fawcett's close friend Alana Stewart to gather at the bedside once he "thought she would live just another couple of hours. She lived a couple of days," says O'Neal.

"I had a bed put in the room for me. And I just lay by her side. And she wouldn't – move on. She wouldn't pass. She just, she just looked at us with a slight smile. It was awful. And then, all of the sudden, the machines flat-lined. After about 16 hours she was gone."

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