The Battle for $12M picture of Charlie's Angel
By: Paige Jones
The decision of who owns an Andy Warhol painting of the late Farrah Fawcett is now in the hands of the jury, with a decision expected at any time. The University of Texas has filed suit against Farah Fawcett’s long time love, Ryan O’Neal, over the ownership of a 1980 portrait of Farrah worth $12M according to plaintiff’s experts. Warhol painted two similar paintings of Farrah during this time. The University is already in possession of the second painting. O’Neal claims the artwork was given to him by Warhol, even though it hung in Farrah’s house.
Farrah was concerned about the privacy of her estate plan, so she drafted a Living Trust to avoid probate, the court system and the press. No such luck. Farrah's Living Trust left her estate to several family members and friends, as well as “all artwork and objects of art” to UT. Farrah's Trust did not leave anything to, or even mention, Ryan O'Neal.
UPDATE: Jury decides for O'Neal. On Thursday, the jury found that Farrah Fawcett did not own the Andy Warhol painting at the time of her death, therefore she could not leave it to the University of Texas in her Living Trust. Nine of the twelve jurors believed Ryan's testimony that Warhol gave him one of the paintings in the 80s and the second painting to Farrah.