Darkest of night with the moon shining bright. There’s a set goin’ strong lotta things goin’ on. The man of the hour has an air of great power. The dudes have envied him for so long…Super Fly!
Yes I love Super Fly! I loved Ron O’Neal’s portrayal of this really Kool Cat who was a street hustling cocaine dealer who wanted nothing more than to get out of the game. The Museum of UnCut Funk celebrates the 40th anniversary of Super Fly, on August 4, 2012.
Ron O’Neal is best remembered for his Blaxpolitation film “Super Fly.” He became an overnight sensation as the hip, funky anti-hero in this action-driven flick (1972), playing one cool drug dealer who wants out of the business, taking out the entire syndicate one by one (or two by two as need be).
O’Neal made his debut as a director the following year with the equally funky sequel, Super Fly T.N.T. (1973), in which he again starred as Priest. But within a couple of years, O’Neal was struggling badly, playing support roles and even less by the end of the decade. Although he managed to co-star in the TV series “Bring ‘Em Back Alive” and “The Equalizer” in the 80s, it’s was an uphill battle for him to shake the image of the supercool Priest with his fu-manchu like beard and dazzling white suit.
O’Neal appeared as both hero and villain in a number of action low budgets, including Mercenary Fighters (1987), Trained to Kill (1988) and Up Against the Wall (1991), which he also directed. In 1996, he joined other former 1970’s Blaxploitation stars, including Jim Brown, Fred Williamson, Richard Roundtree and Pam Grier, in a revival of the genre entitled Original Gangstas (1996).
E! True Hollywood Stories produced a documentary on Ron O’Neal and the Super Fly effect on his career, which you can watch below.
Ron O’Neal died from pancreatic cancer on January 14, 2004, the same day Super Fly was released on DVD in the US.
Ron O’Neal 1970’s Filmography
- 1970 – Move – Peter
- 1971 – The Organization – Joe Peralez
- 1972 – Super Fly – Priest
- 1973 – Superfly T.N.T – Priest
- 1975 – The Master Gunfighter – Paulo
- 1977 – Brothers – Walter Nance
- 1979 – The Hitter – Otis
- 1979 – A Force of One – Rollins
- 1979 – When a Stranger Calls – Lt. Charlie Garber
Ron O’Neal Movie Posters