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Jury mulls verdict in Ryan O'Neal vs. University of Texas Warhol painting trial
This April 10, 2003 file photo shows actors Farrah Fawcett (L) and Ryan O'Neal relaxing at the after-party for "Malibu's Most Wanted" at the Highlands in Los Angeles, California. Ryan O'Neal snatched an Andy Warhol painting of his ex-lover Farrah Fawcett from her home shortly after she died, even though he knew it was not his, lawyers claimed November 25, 2013. As a long-awaited trial opened in Los Angeles, a lawyer for the veteran actor claimed he was the rightful owner of the painting, with an estimated value of up to USD 12 million. Files/Kevin Winter/Getty Images/AFP.
LOS ANGELES (AFP).- A jury is considering its verdict in a trial pitting veteran actor Ryan O'Neal against his ex-lover Farrah Fawcett's old college, over an Warhol painting of the late "Charlie's Angels" star.

Former "Charlie's Angels" co-star Jaclyn Smith broke down in tears on the last day of testimony Monday after a two-week trial in Los Angeles, where Fawcett died in 2009.

"I think the most important thing would be imagining what Farrah would want," she said outside court, cited by the Los Angeles Times. "I really feel Farrah would want that portrait with Ryan."

The University of Texas, where Fawcett studied as a young woman, is suing O'Neal after the painting was spotted in the actor's home during an episode of reality TV show "Ryan and Tatum: The O'Neals."

The university says Fawcett bequeathed all her artwork to her alma mater when she died, and it insists the Warhol painting should be displayed in a museum next to a near-identical portrait of the late actress.

O'Neal's lawyers say Warhol gave one portrait to Fawcett and the other to O'Neal.

Defending himself during the trial, the 72-year-old said the portrait belonged to him, but he had left it at her home because his new girlfriend "was uncomfortable with Farrah staring at her" from the wall at his own home.

He said he removed the work from Fawcett's Wilshire Boulevard condominium shortly after she died of cancer on June 25, 2009 -- the same day as pop icon Michael Jackson -- aged 62.

O'Neal said he kept the portrait at his Malibu home from 1980 to 1998, but loaned it to Fawcett from time to time, to take to exhibitions with her own copy.

But that changed after Fawcett caught him with another woman, when she let herself into his home in 1997.

"She was hurt, she was in shock," he said, adding that he subsequently asked Fawcett to take the painting and keep it for him.

"I asked her to keep the portrait with her, store it for me, because my young (girlfriend) was uncomfortable with Farrah staring at her," he told the court.

Fawcett was born in Texas and went to college there for three years, but left without graduating after being "discovered" and moving to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.

But she remained loyal to her alma mater. "Farrah never forgot where she came from," the university's lawyer David Beck said when the trial opened on November 26.

While the university says the portrait is worth about $12 million, O'Neal's lawyer Martin Singer estimated its value at just under $1 million, adding: "The University of Texas should have been satisfied with what they got."



© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse



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