heck it's the slow season in tennis. let's spice things up a bit.
Sex, drugs? Tatum
did them at 12
Actress' sizzling tell-all skewers Holly-weird
BY CORKY SIEMASZKO
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Here is the book Hollywood has been dreading.
In "A Paper Life," Oscar-winning actress Tatum O'Neal doesn't just spill sordid secrets - she names names.
Who is the screen siren that dragged O'Neal into an opium-fueled orgy when the "Paper Moon" star was just 12?
The answer is Melanie Griffith, according to O'Neal.
Which superstar tried to make out with O'Neal even though, at age 17, he was five years older than she?
The answer is peculiar pop icon Michael Jackson.
"I was just twelve and not at all ready for a real-life encounter," Tatum, now 40, wrote. "Michael, who was sweating profusely, seemed as intimidated as I was. He jumped up nervously and said, 'Uh ... gotta go.'"
But the real monster in O'Neal's autobiography, a 285-page exposé of the sex- and drug-drenched 1970s and '80s that hits bookstores today, is her abusive dad, actor Ryan O'Neal.
When, at age 10, O'Neal won an Academy Award for "Paper Moon," she writes that her jealous dad - who also starred in the movie - slugged her.
When O'Neal complained that she had been molested by her dad's drug dealer, Ryan O'Neal accused his daughter of leading the dealer on - and kept him on the payroll, according to the book.
"I remained Ryan's companion on the Hollywood party circuit, growing inured to sex and drugs before I was in my teens," she wrote. "A needy little girl, still haunted by neglect, I clung to him and even to the women in his life - Bianca Jagger, Anjelica Huston, Melanie Griffith and many more."
To this day, Tatum O'Neal remains estranged from her 63-year-old father, best known as the heartbroken hunk in "Love Story" and for his stormy romance with Farrah Fawcett. "The role I longed to play was never written into Ryan's script: daughter," she wrote.
O'Neal kicks off her book tour today with an hour-long "Oprah" interview. She appears on the "Today" show on Thursday and will do a book signing at the Barnes & Noble near Lincoln Center, starting at 7 p.m. that day.
Neither Ryan O'Neal nor Griffith returned calls for comment about O'Neal's often-steamy tell-all. But they won't like their portrayal.
Neither will tennis star John McEnroe, whom O'Neal married in 1986.
O'Neal writes that when McEnroe started faltering on the tennis court, he took out his frustrations on her - sometimes with his mitts.
"John kept losing matches, and now, for the first time, the fury he was famous for venting on the tennis court came spilling out at home," she wrote.
Their marriage, which produced three children, ended in an ugly divorce.
In his own 2002 book, McEnroe denied he ever beat O'Neal and portrayed her as a temperamental drug abuser.
O'Neal's mother, actress Joanna Moore, was no prize, either. She popped pills and was obsessed with looking young. "The caps on her teeth were never tight enough," O'Neal writes. "As a child, I was like the tooth fairy, ferreting out the lost caps that were always strewn around the house."
After splitting with Ryan O'Neal, Moore took Tatum O'Neal and her brother, Griffin, to live on a squalid ranch, where the child star claims she was molested at age 6 by a family friend. Both kids were tormented by Moore and her 15-year-old boyfriend, O'Neal claims.
"I got a serious blast of her religion when she started speaking in tongues and beating the hell out of me," she wrote.
When O'Neal went to live with her father, she competed for his attention with his many lovers. "I often did sleep in my father's bed, even when he had women over," she writes.
But O'Neal also writes fondly about the mothering she got from starlets like Ursula Andress, Lauren Hutton, Diana Ross and, especially, Bianca Jagger.
As a teenager in Tinseltown, O'Neal writes that she was exposed to a lot of creepy older men. Director Roman Polanski showed her an X-rated Japanese movie, she writes, and drummer Keith Moon from The Who tried to pick her up.
And while still a tender teen, she lost her virginity to a stunt man. O'Neal does not name him, but writes of the encounter: "It wasn't very romantic and it hurt."
Director Woody Allen criticized her table manners. But directors Stanley Kubrick and Peter Bogdanovich were kind to her. So were actors Walter Matthau and John Ritter.
O'Neal also writes candidly about losing custody of her three children, her descent into heroin addiction and her struggle to stay clean.
"For years I could hardly look people in the eye," she writes. "Now that I've burned away the painful debris of my life, I feel courageous and open, less a celluloid image of a woman than purely, authentically Tatum."