A Farrah Fawcett portrait by Andy Warhol is the subject of a legal dispute between Ryan O’Neal and the University of Texas. The 1980 silkscreen portrait is valued at $30 million.
O’Neal claims Warhol gave him the portrait as a gift. He said he originally left the portrait at the actress’s home at the request of his girlfriend. However, he retrieved the silkscreen following Fawcett’s death in 2009.
The University of Texas argues that the former “Charlie’s Angel” left her entire art collection, including the portrait, to the school. University trustees said they received a tip about the painting and tracked it to O’Neal’s Malibu home.
As reported by the New York Post, the university filed a lawsuit in an attempt to recover the painting. O’Neal argues that there are actually two very similar portraits. One was given to him and the other to Farrah Fawcett. He said The University of Texas already has portrait that belonged to the actress.
O’Neal said the university is “greedily… trying to take [his] cherished portrait of the love of his life.” O’Neal and Fawcett were never married, but their relationship spanned decades.
In an interview with Today, probate and estate attorney Kenneth Ostrove said the court’s decision may hinge on “how good of an actor Mr. O’Neal is.” He said if the actor manages to “play out that emotional side” he might be able to keep the portrait.
Fawcett attended The University of Texas until her junior year, when she left to pursue a career as an actress. Although she starred in numerous films, her role in Charlie’s Angels‘ was her most memorable. She only appeared in the program for one season, but she soon became a household name.
After she left the series, she starred in a stage production titled Extremities, which received rave reviews. She later appeared in a film based on the play. She also received critical acclaim for her starring role in a television movie titled The Burning Bed.
Farrah Fawcett was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. The iconic actress died in 2009, but she remains a legend. The legal battle over her portrait is expected to last at least two weeks.
[Image via Flickr]