Ryan O'Neal defends his ownership of Farrah Fawcett painting by Warhol
Actor Ryan O’Neal defended his ownership of a portrait depicting long-time girlfriend Farah Fawcett on Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court against claims by the University of Texas that the artwork by Andy Warhol belongs in its galleries.
O’Neal is locked in a legal feud with the university over the Warhol silkscreen, which he says was given to him by the artist himself. It’s one of a pair of portraits the pop art master made, with the other already on display at the University of Texas, Fawcett’s alma mater.
The disputed artwork is now in O’Neal’s home, hanging over his bed, the actor said when questioned by a lawyer for the University of Texas on Monday.
Under questioning from his own attorney, O’Neal said he has no intention of selling the portrait.
“I’m going to give it to her son. Our son,” O’Neal said in court on Monday.
The actor says he moved the 1980 artwork, which some estimates value at as much as $30 million, to Fawcett’s house briefly before recovering it after her death from cancer.
The university contends that Fawcett left “all ... artwork and any objects of art ... to the University of Texas” in a living trust.
O’Neal has fired back, saying that the University of Texas is “greedily … trying to take [his] cherished portrait of the love of his life.”
The list of potential witnesses who may appear at Los Angeles Superior Court reads like movie credits, and includes O’Neal, the son he had with Fawcett, and actress Jaclyn Smith.
“She loved me,” O’Neal told TODAY after Fawcett’s death in 2009. “She said so, she loved me.”
NBC News’ Mike Taibbi contributed to this report.