As part of an ongoing legal dispute over a portrait of Farrah Fawcett, actor Ryan O’Neal testified in court Monday that the Andy Warhol work does indeed belong to him.
O’Neal is being sued by—and is counter-suing—the University of Texas, which claims that Farrah Fawcett left the artwork to the school she attended for three years. In his counter suit, O’Neal is seeking a signed sketch that Warhol did on a cloth napkin when the two were at dinner with Farrah Fawcett, saying it had wrongly ended up in the university’s possession.
“The painting is mine,” said Farrah Fawcett’s former partner in open court, via ABC News.
Although O’Neal had never married Farrah Fawcett, the two were together for periods of years. O’Neal and Fawcett first got together in 1979 when Farrah split with husband Lee Majors; their union produced a son, Redmond James Fawcett O’Neal, in 1985. The couple first split in 1997. Farrah and Ryan got back together and maintained a relationship until Fawcett’s death in 2009.
O’Neal is currently in possession of the disputed Farrah Fawcett portrait, of which two copies were made from a photo session between Fawcett and Andy Warhol, which O’Neal claims to have arranged. The university is in possession of the other copy. Each stands to be worth millions of dollars, which is the attraction for the university, O’Neal’s lawyer contends.
“They just want expensive art,” O’Neal’s attorney, Martin Singer, said.
O’Neal admitted to removing the portrait from Farrah’s condominium after the actress died on June 25, 2009, only hours before the shocking death of Michael Jackson was announced.
“I removed the painting a week or more after she died,” he testified in court.
David Beck, an attorney for the university, grilled O’Neal about the 1997 incident that led to their breakup, in which Farrah Fawcett caught him in bed with a 25-year-old woman. At the time, the portrait of Farrah hung over O’Neal’s bed, but he claims he asked Fawcett to store the portrait at her place because “my young friend was uncomfortable with Farrah staring at her.”
Do you think Ryan O’Neal has a right to the Farrah Fawcett portrait being contested?