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.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Farrah Fawcett

    She may be America’s favorite "Angel." A look at the iconic poster girl’s career.

  • Farrah Fawcett

    of

    In bed together -

    Farrah Fawcett, right, shares a scene with Raquel Welch in the 1970 film "Myra Breckinridge." It was Fawcett's first major film role.

    Everett Collection
  • Farrah Fawcett

    of

    Major life changes -

    Fawcett, right, married actor Lee Majors in 1973. The next year, Majors debuted as Col. Steve Austin in the television series "The Six Million Dollar Man," in which Fawcett guest starred. The couple divorced in 1982.

    Everett Collection
  • Farrah Fawcett

    of

    The blonde 'Angel' -

    Fawcett, right, won fame on the television series "Charlie's Angels," in which she played a glamorous private detective along with Jaclyn Smith, left, and Kate Jackson. Fawcett's famous 'do was copied by women across the nation.

    Everett Collection
  • Farrah Fawcett

    of

    Poster girl -

    In 1976, just as her career was taking off, Fawcett posed for this pin-up poster, which sold millions of copies and broke sales records.

  • Farrah Fawcett

    of

    A princely evening -

    Fawcett, left, meets the Prince of Wales backstage at the London Palladium after the Royal show Supernight in London on April 9, 1978. Fawcett, who was married to Lee Majors at the time, was the emcee for the benefit event that raised funds for the United World College.

    Bob Dear / AP
  • Farrah Fawcett

    of

    Out of this world -

    Fawcett starred with Kirk Douglas in the 1980 film "Saturn 3." Despite Fawcett's topless scene, the film was a commercial flop.

    Everett Collection
  • Farrah Fawcett

    of

    Down, but not out -

    Fawcett staged a comeback in 1984, earning critical praise when she portrayed a battered wife in the television movie "The Burning Bed."

    Everett Collection
  • Farrah Fawcett

    of

    A new beau -

    After her divorce from Lee Majors, Fawcett moved in with Ryan O'Neal. In 1985, they had a son together, Redmond O'Neal.

    Rex Usa / Rex USA
  • Farrah Fawcett

    of

    A taste of revenge -

    In 1986, Fawcett starred in "Extremities" with James Russo. The movie is about a woman who takes revenge on a would-be rapist.

    Everett Collection
  • Farrah Fawcett

    of

    Losing her grip -

    In 2000, Fawcett played Kate, the mentally unstable wife of gynecologist Dr. Sullivan Travis (Richard Gere), in Robert Altman's "Dr. T & the Women."

    Everett Collection
  • Farrah Fawcett

    of

    Don't judge me -

    Fawcett, with actor Charlie Sheen, portrayed Judge Claire Simmons on four episodes of the television series "Spin City" in 2001.

    Everett Collection
  • Farrah Fawcett

    of

    One big happy family? -

    Ryan O'Neal, center, and Fawcett arrive with their son Redmond at the premiere of "Malibu's Most Wanted" at the Chinese Theater on April 10, 2003, in Los Angeles. Ryan O'Neal had a role in the series.

    Kevin Winter / Getty Images
  • Farrah Fawcett

    of

    Still cookin' -

    Fawcett had a role in 2004's "The Cookout."

    Everett Collection
  • Farrah Fawcett

    of

    No joke -

    In August 2006, Fawcett took part in the Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner. Two months later, the actress announced that she was battling cancer.

    Kevin Winter / Getty Images
  • Farrah Fawcett

    of

    'Angels' reunite -

    Fawcett joins former "Charlie's Angels" co-stars Kate Jackson, left, and Jaclyn Smith, right, onstage at the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on Aug. 27, 2006, in Los Angeles.

    Vince Bucci / Getty Images
  • Farrah Fawcett

    of

    Mother and son -

    Farrah Fawcett and her son Redmond O'Neal share an embrace in a scene from "Farrah's Story," a personal look at her battle with cancer. Shot with her own home video recorder, the film chronicles the actress' two and half year battle with cancer. It aired on NBC on Friday, May 15.

    NBC
  • Farrah Fawcett

    of

    In treatment -

    In a scene from "Farrah's Story," Fawcett consults with a health careworker while receiving treatment in Germany in 2008.

    NBC
  • Farrah Fawcett

    of

    Serving as an example -

    Farrah Fawcett decided to do the film "Farrah's Story" because she wanted to serve as an example whose health battle would offer a lasting effect — especially in the areas of protecting patient confidentiality and promoting alternative treatments for cancer.

    NBC
0:00
 
0:00
Your video begins in
0:00
TOP