A US jury on Thursday found in favor of veteran actor Ryan O’Neal in a dispute over an Andy Warhol painting of his ex-lover Farrah Fawcett, saying it rightfully belonged to him.
The six-man, six-woman panel rejected a claim by the University of Texas, where the late “Charlie’s Angels” star went to college, that she left the valuable portrait to her alma mater.
The university sued O’Neal after the painting was spotted in the actor’s home during an episode of reality TV show “Ryan and Tatum: The O’Neals.”
It said Fawcett bequeathed all her artwork to her alma mater when she died, and insisted the Warhol painting should be displayed in a museum next to a near-identical portrait also of the late actress, also created in 1980.
O’Neal’s lawyers said during the two-week trial that Warhol gave one portrait to Fawcett and the other to O’Neal.
O’Neal, 72, said the portrait belonged to him, but he had left it at her home because his new girlfriend “was uncomfortable with Farrah staring at her” from the wall at his own home.
He said he removed the work from Fawcett’s Wilshire Boulevard condominium shortly after she died of cancer on June 25, 2009 — the same day as pop icon Michael Jackson — aged 62.
Fawcett was born in Texas and went to college there for three years, but left without graduating after being “discovered” and moving to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.
While the university says the portrait is worth about $12 million, O’Neal’s lawyer Martin Singer estimated its value at just under $1 million, adding: “The University of Texas should have been satisfied with what they got.”
[Image via Agence France-Presse]