Ron Galella/WireImage.com
Ryan O'Neal and Farrah Fawcett at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles in 1987

UT sues Ryan O'Neal over Farrah Fawcett portrait

The UT System Board of Regents filed a lawsuit against Ryan O’Neal over a portrait of Farrah Fawcett, which was seen hanging over O’Neal’s bed in an episode of an OWN reality series
Ryan O'Neal and Farrah Fawcett at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles in 1987Ron Galella/WireImage.com

The UT System Board of Regents filed a lawsuit on behalf of the university Friday in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against Ryan O’Neal over the twin of an Andy Warhol silkscreen portrait of iconic actress Farrah Fawcett, which currently hangs in the Blanton Museum of Art as part of the museum’s About Face: Portraiture as Subject exhibition.

The university accused O’Neal of “wrongfully converting” the missing Warhol portrait to his possession and worry that he his keeping other works of art that belong to UT.

Warhol, who created the portrait in 1980, made two portraits of Fawcett and reportedly gave them to her as a gift. She then bequeathed both portraits to the University of Texas at Austin when she died in 2009, the school claims.

Warhol, who created the portrait in 1980, made two portraits of Fawcett and reportedly gave them to her as a gift. She then bequeathed both portraits to the University of Texas at Austin when she died in 2009, the school claims.

The portrait was seen hanging over O’Neal’s bed in an episode of OWN reality series “Ryan and Tatum: The O’Neals.” According to Associated Press reports, O’Neal claims that the actress gave the other Warhol silkscreen to him as a gift.

According to filed lawsuit, UT is demanding a trial by jury against O’Neal who they ask that he “transfer the Warhol portrait in his possession to its rightful owner.”

Warhol is best known as a symbolic figure of the pop art movement. He created portraits of other iconic figures that have sold for millions of dollars.

The school claims that Fawcett left all of her artwork and “objects of art” to UT Austin through the Fawcett Living Trust, which she created before her death. The trust was intended to govern the distribution of specific assets not covered in her will after her death.

Fawcett attended UT in the 1960s and was discovered by a publicist while a student at the school. She then moved to California before graduating. Fawcett became an icon of her time, appearing in the renowned television series “Charlie’s Angels,” which premiered in 1976.

She and O’Neal were long time partners, and he was at her side two years ago when she died after suffering from colon cancer.

The lawsuit also contends a request for “injunctive relief” against O’Neal. It asks that he should be required to maintain the portrait in a secure location with sufficient insurance in order to prevent any damage or any loss.

“The Warhol portrait is an irreplaceable piece of art for which legal damages could not compensate UT Austin if the portrait is lost or damaged during the pendency of this dispute,” the lawsuit reads.
Vice chancellor and general counsel for the UT System Barry Burgdorf said that he believes the lawsuit speaks for itself and had no further comment on the matter.