The University of Texas will remember 2013 as a year in which it gained a national spotlight due to litigation. One case went to the Supreme Court and involved the future of affirmative action in university admissions. The other determined the legal ownership of a painting of famous UT alumna Farrah Fawcett by legendary pop artist Andy Warhol.
The lawsuit pitted the university against actor Ryan O’Neal, who claimed ownership of Warhol’s painting of Fawcett, with whom O’Neal had an on-again, off-gain relationship beginning in 1979 until her passing in 2009. The university maintained that it had sole possession of all artwork from Fawcett’s collection as per her will, but O’Neal stated in his testimony that Warhol had gifted one painting to Fawcett and another to O’Neal.
On Thursday, December 19, a jury at the Los Angeles Superior Court ruled in favor of O’Neal. On the morning of December 23, O’Neal appeared on Today to give his own statement about the court decision — a must-watch if you’re in the mood for something cringe-worthy.
Appearing alongside his attorney — who only seems to be joining in for the pleasure of suffering through some awkward silences — O’Neal stumbles through his interview with statements about blood mixing with tears and that Fawcett gave him permission to appear on the show. He also claims that the lawsuit was due to his having enemies who informed the university regents of the second painting and its worth.
Despite its worth, O’Neal contends that the painting will stay in the family, passing on to his and Fawcett’s only son, Redmond.