Elizabeth Taylor gets dolled up in her dressing room for A Little Night Music in 1977.

O'Neill's then-girlfriend Faye Dunaway at the Beverley Hills Hotel, the morning after winning the Best Actress Oscar for her role in Network. "Once someone wins an Oscar [Dunaway for best actress], their money goes from a million to 10; they get every script in the world. It's the start of the next step of their lives, and I wanted to capture that. It was about 6:30 in the morning," O'Neill told the Telegraph in a recent interview.

Brigitte Bardot in 1971--one of O'Neill's most famous photographs.

Raquel Welch, 1968. "She said to me, I’m going to get crucified for wearing that bikini in One Million Years BC, so I went to 20th Century Fox, and I said If you can build me a crucifix, I got this idea for a picture. Anyway, we did the photograph, but this was the late '60s and I got nervous--being a Catholic I kept thinking how everyone’s going to misinterpret this, so I’ve only just released it, about three years ago. I've no doubt some people will still object to it but its not meant to be sacrilegious, just to sum up someone's attitude," O'Neill told the Telegraph.

Rod Stewart nuzzles a mare with her foal in Old Windsor in 1971. "I couldn't believe it when we went out into his garden and saw that the horse had the same spots as his suit."

Liz and Dick, 1971.

Actor Rex Harrison in character for A Flea in her Ear, 1968.

British actors Peter Cook and Dudley Moore kick it in Los Angeles in 1979.

Monica Vitti at Pinewood Studios, 1966, on the set of Modesty Blaise.

Model Jean Shrimpton and Terence Stamp, 1963.

James Garner in Grand Prix, 1966.

Frank Sinatra, 1968. "This was the moment I first met him. He hadn't seen me yet, and he came around the corner striding across the boardwalk with all his bodyguards and his body double. It was really intimidating," O'Neill tells the Telegraph.

Audrey Hepburn, 1967.

13 Photos That Humanize Hollywood's Biggest Stars

For more than six decades, Terry O'Neill has photographed the world's greatest minds and talents, from Nelson Mandela to Brigitte Bardot. A new exhibition showcases his best images.

Over the course of six decades, British photographer Terry O’Neill has snapped politicos from Winston Churchill to Nelson Mandela, divas from Frank Sinatra and Elvis to Amy Winehouse, and Hollywood stars from Brigitte Bardot to Nicole Kidman—not to mention every James Bond, from Sean Connery to Pierce Brosnan. His most arresting images are featured in a new retrospective at London’s Little Black Gallery: The Best of Terry O’Neill.

Many of these glamorous shots indulge our fantasies of the celebrity as superhuman, haloed by the camera’s flash. But others are intimate and candid, capturing an unguarded moment that humanizes the famous subject. O'Neill deftly cataloged the life of the celebrity in all its complexity.

Born in 1938 to Irish immigrants in London, O’Neill spent two years training to be a priest, but photography's call proved to be stronger than God’s. His career serendipitously began while he was working in a photographic unit for an airline at London’s Heathrow Airport. He snuck a photograph of a gentleman sleeping in a waiting area—a gentleman who turned out to be Britain’s home secretary. The photograph was purchased and appeared on the front page of London's Sunday Dispatch paper, and soon enough, O’Neill had landed his first professional job, photographing actor Laurence Olivier.

Audrey Hepburn 1967 © Terry O'Neill

"I was suddenly being invited onto the film sets of the most beautiful women in the world, from Bardot to Elizabeth Taylor," he writes in a memoir penned for his website. "Rock bands and musicians let me go backstage—in the days when photographers weren’t allowed." (Bands like, oh, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.) "One minute I’d be on the set of a Bond movie, the next I’d be at a Hollywood studio hanging out with the biggest stars in the world."

In one of his most famous photographs, O’Neill’s then-girlfriend Faye Dunaway lounges next to a Beverly Hills Hotel swimming pool, casually eyeing the Oscar for Best Actress she’d won the night before for her role in Network. O’Neill and Dunaway would go on to marry in 1983, then divorce in 1987.

Image: Frank Sinatra 1968 © Terry O'Neill.

O'Neill's camera also captured Rod Stewart in flamboyant animal print, nuzzling a mare and foal; a bikini-clad Raquel Welch tied to a cross; and David Bowie in platform shoes, dancing with a hound dog on its hind legs. "What the dog is doing here is trying to bite the flash—every time it went off, he jumped," O'Neill explained to the Telegraph. "[Bowie] didn't turn a bloody hair, he was zonked out at the time, all the time. But he was such a class act."

The Best of Terry O'Neill is on view at London's Little Black Gallery until March 1.

[Image: Elizabeth Taylor in makeup for A Little Night Music 1977 © TerryONeill]

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  • Freeman Chiu

    the guy on the far left looked more like Sinatra than the Sinatra body-double himself