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Tatum O'Neal had quite the film debut.
Her first job was acting alongside her father Ryan O’Neal and Madelyn Kahn in director Peter Bogdonavich’s Paper Moon.
The movie was a critical and financial success and a personal triumph as well. At the age of 10, Tatum became the youngest to receive the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her performance.
But the fun wasn’t over.
Her second film was The Bad News Bears, an iconic and beloved baseball film.
When the project came up, producers wanted to make sure that the actress who played Amanda could throw like a boy.
Ryan O’Neal remembered being asked about his daughter’s skill level, and he fibbed about her being able to.
“She had never had a baseball glove on before that, but she could throw,” he said.
Tatum trained for three months for the part, but it wasn’t just technique that sold the performance.
She said, “Peter Bogdonavich got involved and started looking at not just the way that I threw but the way that I looked when I threw.”
Bogdonavich suggested that she remain expressionless when throwing and that she add gum.
“She was a pro at the end,” Ryan said.
While it was fun to work alongside other kids, there was one actor who made the experience even better.
“Working with Walter was one of the highlights of my career,” Tatum said. “It wouldn’t have been the picture that it was had he not been involved.”
Her favorite scene in the film is when she and Matthau are driving in his car. Her laughing was authentic because he was doing little bits that were funny.