Ellen Holly reveals in her book, “One Life,” actor Roscoe Lee Browne (who recently died, RIP) introduced her to actor Ron O’Neal (Superfly).  Later that evening, O’Neal asked Holly for her phone number.  She admits to having a strong passion for him.   “Every time I opened the door, I couldn’t believe he was there.  Every time I walked down the street with him, I couldn’t get over how extraordinary it was that the one person I wanted to be with was right here.”  Few people know that O’Neal was weaned on Shakespeare but he played a drug pusher in Superfly.  According to Holly, O’Neal had a dark side.  He was always frowning and complaining with an alarming mix of anger and tension.

Over time, he loved to put me down and insult me about my talent and appearance.  One time, I invited him to the “One Life To Live,” cast party and despite being my date-he spent the entire evening flirting with a succession of blondes right in front of me.  At the end of the evening, as we were waiting for the elevator, he turned to me, curled his lip in contempt and spat out, “Your lipstick was too dark!” Aside from the cast party, he had never taken me anywhere or given me anything.  The only thing he ever bought me during our entire relationship was a hot dog in Central Park.

When Shirley Chisholm had announced her run for the presidency, a black first.  O’Neal sat in my living room and tore her to shreds.   “Wouldn’t you know some black b**ch would haul her black f**king ass into the ring.”

One evening I had spent the night at Ron’s apartment, it was 1 a.m. and I had an early rehearsal call.  As I was dressing, Ron leaned back in bed on his elbow and, yawning in my face, he said, “You can catch your own cab, can’t you?”  He even seemed annoyed that he had to bother to get out of bed and lock the door behind me.  I burst into tears.  When a man sends you out into the winter night in one of the highest crime areas in the city to catch your own cab, he is telling you that you matter so little to him that you can run the risk of getting raped or mugged or killed and he just doesn’t care.  But I kept going back.

Ron would return to his hometown of Cleveland to appear in a play.  He explained to me, ‘because you appear on “One Life To Live,” my hometown friends would be foolish enough to actually see you as a celebrity.”  After that comment, I decided not to go.

When Ron returned to New York I met him at a restaurant and he told me he brought an actress back from Cleveland who wanted to relocate to New York.  I would meet her later, she didn’t have much style and was dressed in a poncho and a frumpy hat with buck teeth.

A few weeks later, I thought me and Ron were going on a date until he informed me that we would be going out on a threesome because he was in love with the girl he’d brought back to New York and intended to marry her as soon as she divorced her husband.  She was moving in with him.  He also informed me that he was glad I couldn’t make the trip to Cleveland to see him in the play because there were a lot of b**ches in the cast who would have been glad to see me show up and make her uncomfortable and that he was not about to let that happen.  I started to cry. It was finally over.




return to top