Thursday, December 19, 2013
Monday, December 16, 2013
Monday, December 9, 2013
Los Angeles (CNN) -- They were the quintessential Hollywood couple -- she the "angel" with the dazzling smile, golden mane and poster-girl figure, he the golden boy whose onscreen "Love Story" was doomed by cancer.
But were they a couple at the end, after infidelity tore them apart and their own battles with cancer brought them back together? And did she intend for him to keep a portrait of her that's worth millions so he could remember her always? Or did she simply leave it to her alma mater, along with her other artwork? These are the questions jurors must answer as they journey into the private lives of Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal and their relationship with the late pop artist Andy Warhol.
The jury of six men and six women is revisiting the final days of the gorgeous girl from Texas who sold 12 million posters, starred in the first season of the hit 1970s TV show "Charlie's Angels" and became one of the last century's most cherished pop icons.
O'Neal, a heartthrob in the 1960s and '70s who was nominated for a best actor Oscar for his performance in "Love Story," is expected to take the stand again this week and tell jurors about his real-life love story with Fawcett. He wasn't alone in his feelings for the blond actress. "Everybody was in love with Farrah," he observed sadly, as he left court one day last week.
So far, jurors have heard the stories of four men, including O'Neal, who in the end were in the orbit of a woman beloved by many but truly known by just a few. Not surprisingly, those men didn't get along, and the rivalry between them is fueling a fierce court battle over love, loyalty and a star's legacy.
Remembering Farrah Fawcett Remembering Farrah Fawcett
New Day: Battle over Fawcett portrait O'Neal claims Warhol portrait is his HLN: School sues O'Neal for portrait
The trial testimony has touched at times on the rewards and challenges of fame, but it also has focused on more universal themes: How does one determine who owns a piece of art worth millions when it was given as a gift? And in a time when one's romantic status can be categorized as "It's Complicated," what defines a couple?
Contested in 2013: A portrait from 1980
At issue is ownership of a 40-inch by 40-inch portrait created in 1980 by an artist famous for rubbing elbows with the fabulous.
Warhol, who died in 1987, coined the notion that everyone gets 15 minutes of fame. His celebrity portraits -- Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Elvis Presley and others -- sell for an average of $7.8 million apiece. In all, his artwork has fetched $1.7 billion at auction, second only to Pablo Picasso, according to testimony.
The portrait at the center of the dispute is a silkscreen on canvas, and Fawcett is shown in three-quarter profile. Her eyes are painted a bright turquoise, her lips a shiny red. Her hair is tucked behind one ear. "This painting makes your eyes pop," appraiser Lee Drexler told jurors on Friday as a copy of the Warhol in question was projected on a screen in the courtroom. "This is magnificent. It's a gorgeous painting." She set its value at $12 million.
The portrait hangs in a beach house in Malibu, California, in the bedroom of O'Neal, Fawcett's on-again, off-again boyfriend of 30 years. A nearly identical portrait hangs in Austin, Texas, at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Fawcett's alma mater. Warhol only made two.
The university's museum has Fawcett's favorite, and it used to hang in her living room. In that portrait, her eyes are greener, and her hair is lighter. The university claims Fawcett bequeathed both paintings in a trust she created before she died of cancer on June 25, 2009. The school is suing O'Neal for his Warhol, and he's countersuing for a tablecloth Warhol decorated with painted hearts during a dinner with the couple.
O'Neal, 72, told jurors last week that Warhol gave Fawcett one of the portraits and gave him the other. He denied he "stole" the Warhol from Fawcett's condominium after she died, saying he took it home with the permission of the estate's trustee. It had hung outside her bedroom. The trustee also is expected to testify for the defense.
The university rested its case on Friday. Its witnesses say Fawcett owned both portraits and had no intention of giving one to O'Neal.
But O'Neal insists the bedroom portrait is his, and Fawcett's longtime friend and hairdresser agrees. Mela Murphy, who left her job as Katie Couric's hairstylist to help care for Fawcett, said the actress told her so.
She told the story of how Fawcett, by then bedridden, insisted Murphy leave initialed Post-it notes on things she wanted. It was the last thing Murphy wanted to do, but she pretended to do it to get Fawcett to stop talking about it, she testified.
"I said, 'OK, I put one on Mr. O'Neal's Warhol.' She said, 'Oooooh, I don't know. You're going to have to fight him for that.' "
Another witness, a nurse, testified at a hearing outside the jury's presence that Fawcett told her the Warhol portrait outside her bedroom belonged to O'Neal. She came forward last week after reading about the trial, and Judge William MacLaughlin ruled that the jury could hear from the nurse this week even though she is a surprise witness.
It's just the latest twist in a case that has been full of them.
The University of Texas might never have learned the second portrait existed if not for the 2012 miniseries "Ryan and Tatum: The O'Neals" on Oprah Winfrey's OWN network. The Warhol was spotted in a scene from the reality TV show, hanging over his bed at the Malibu beach house in a scene from the show.
Three men -- two with no love lost for O'Neal -- cooperated with the university's investigators. They are a reality show producer, a Fawcett fan turned personal assistant and Fawcett's college boyfriend, a former University of Texas football player who says she was "the love of my life." All three supplied information to the university's investigators and testified last week.
The producer and the college boyfriend harbor deep grudges against O'Neal, and the assistant is friendly with both men. O'Neal's lawyer, Marty Singer, refers to them as "the troika."
Greg Nevius is the producer. He is a protege of B-movie director Roger Corman and is involved in several lawsuits against O'Neal. He acknowledged that he has sent the university's lawyers and investigators more than 100 e-mails and also has filed reports against O'Neal with the LAPD, the IRS and the California Attorney General.
Much of the ill will has to do with Nevius' diminished role in a documentary about Fawcett's battle with cancer. "Farrah's Story" aired on NBC, but Nevius said it was never her intention to be filmed while dying. She had hoped to present a documentary about alternative cancer treatments. Nevius claims in one of his lawsuits against O'Neal that the actor and others "hijacked" the documentary and its original vision from him.
He was asked on the witness stand if he accused O'Neal of stealing the Warhol and whether he called him a criminal. "Yes," he replied, "and I stand behind that." O'Neal is suing him for defamation, and that case is ongoing.
The former boyfriend, Greg Lott, admitted he once confronted O'Neal with a camera crew and posted the face-off on YouTube. Lott said he resented O'Neal because he prevented him from seeing "the love of my life before she died."
What's love got to do with it?
As individuals, Fawcett and O'Neal were extraordinary. As a couple, they were the stuff of dreams, the "Brangelina" of their time and fodder for the tabloids.
Fawcett grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas, and attended Catholic schools before heading to the University of Texas in 1965, where word spread fast that "there was this beautiful girl in the freshman class, that she was extraordinary, even by University of Texas standards," as Lott recalled. Students voted her one of the most beautiful girls on campus, and her photograph was sent to a Hollywood agent.
Fawcett found a summer job in Los Angeles after her junior year and never returned to campus. Her career began, as many did, with commercials -- for skin cream and toothpaste -- before moving on to guest spots on television shows such as "The Flying Nun," "Mayberry R.F.D.," "I Dream of Jeannie" and "The Partridge Family." She married actor Lee Majors and appeared with him on several episodes of "The Six Million Dollar Man."
She posed in a red Speedo tank suit for the now-famous poster in 1976 -- the same year she was chosen by Aaron Spelling to play the part of investigator Jill Munroe on the television show "Charlie's Angels." The show was an instant smash and launched the genre popularly known as "jiggle TV."
She famously told TV Guide in a 1977 interview: "When the show was number three, I thought it was our acting. When we got to be number one, I decided it could only be because none of us wears a bra."
Women everywhere imitated her hairstyle, and there were Farrah dolls, shampoo, even bubble gum cards. But she made more money from the poster than she ever did from "Charlie's Angels."
She began seeing O'Neal in 1979, while she was separated from Majors. They didn't officially divorce until 1982. Like Majors, O'Neal was somewhat older than she was and had an established Hollywood career.
The son of a Hollywood screenwriter, O'Neal aspired to be professional boxer but his good looks drew him into television. From 1964 to 1969, he starred on the ABC nighttime soap sensation "Peyton Place" with Mia Farrow, but his career really took off in 1970 when he was cast with Ali MacGraw in the movie "Love Story."
Fawcett and O'Neal never married, but they were one of Hollywood's golden couples at a time when that truly mattered. People magazine was just coming into its own, the tabloids existed but were much tamer and nobody had heard of TMZ or Twitter yet.
They lived together, sharing space at his Malibu beach house and her home in the hills above Bel-Air. Their son, Redmond, was born in 1985.
The nature of their relationship during the final years of Fawcett's life is key to the case involving the disputed Warhol. Lawyers for the University of Texas and their witnesses say Fawcett and O'Neal shared little more than parenting duties after 1997. But O'Neal and his lawyers say they were very much together after she rushed to his side when he was diagnosed with leukemia in 2001.
"They were a couple," lawyer Marty Singer insisted. "They weren't married, but they were living together." Each side used an edited clip from the 2004 reality show "Chasing Farrah," produced by Nevius, to demonstrate the point.
One segment shows Fawcett and O'Neal tossing a Frisbee on the beach. She falls into the surf laughing, and he comes after her with a Boogie Board. She rides it into shore. Later, they are sitting at a table, and he talks about how love is based on respect and admiration. He says he admired her work in the off-Broadway play "Extremities."
Fawcett gets up and starts dancing to Meredith Brooks' 1997 song "Bitch," which includes the lyrics, "I'm a bitch, I'm a lover." She invites him to dance, and he joins her, giving her a twirl and a dip.
They appear to be a couple -- at least for the camera.
But in another clip from the same show, Fawcett is seen scanning a tabloid story that brings up the possibility of reconciliation with O'Neal and jokes about how "sweet" it is. "It was their seventh highest rated cover ever, us breaking up," she says. "Now that we're not together, people want us to be together."
Fawcett and O'Neal broke up in 1998 after she walked in on him in bed with a much younger woman at his Malibu beach house. The Warhol portrait was hanging over his bed at the time.
By October 1998, Lott, the college boyfriend, was back in the picture -- at least for a little while. The evidence in the case includes two love letters to Lott from Fawcett, who addressed him as "My darling Greg."
"Happy New Year. Happy new life, our happy new life together," she wrote in late 1998. In another, undated note, she wrote, "To say I miss you is the greatest understatement. I already ache for you but I don't want you to see me crying ... You are my North, my South, my East, my West, and you know the rest. I love you forever and more..."
Fawcett had both Warhols with her when she moved into her Los Angeles condominium in 1999, according to Lott. The Warhol O'Neal has now had hung there for a while but ended up in storage because she felt it was "pretentious" to hang two portraits of herself in a small condo. It returned to the condo after the 2004 reality show.
O'Neal says he and Fawcett reconciled in 2001 when he was diagnosed with leukemia. She helped care for him. He says she forgave him.
But Nevius, who spent time with Fawcett during production of the reality shows, says she told him she never really let O'Neal back into her life as a lover. "They were co-parents," he said. "They were a former couple who were very flirtatious."
According to testimony, O'Neal was the first person Fawcett called when she received her cancer diagnosis in 2006. She called her father next, and then her son. If O'Neal wasn't her significant other, his lawyer insists, he certainly was significant.
Mike Pingel, the personal assistant, testified that O'Neal was a frequent visitor to Fawcett's condo in 2007 when he worked for her. O'Neal would arrive carrying a bag, but "he didn't have a drawer." He did buy a television set for the bedroom so he could watch sports. The staff referred to it as "Ryan's TV," he said. But Lott also was calling Fawcett on a daily basis, Pingel said.
So far, the issue of ownership of the Warhol seems equally murky.
Although Fawcett often referred to both portraits as "my Warhols" and said things such as "I have two," she never used the word "own," the university's witnesses acknowledged.
The judge has questioned whether O'Neal's relationship with Fawcett when she died has anything to do with who owns a Warhol worth millions. The university's lawyers also wonder what love's got to do with it and suggest the question will, in the words of attorney Eric Nichols, "lead us down a rabbit hole." But O'Neal's lawyer, Singer, says, "It matters a great deal." And he'll get the chance to show the jury why when his client takes the stand this week and tells a real Hollywood love story.
NOTE: CNN has/had Mike Pingel's name written as Pindel, but it is PINGEL and was corrected for this post.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
|Greg Lott and Farrah Fawcett, University of Texas|
Yet the painting worth up to £20million has also sparked a legal battle that threatens to turn Farrah’s fairy-tale romance with Love Story star Ryan O’Neal into little more than a sordid fable. The artwork has exposed O’Neal’s infi delity to Farrah and revealed her secret love affair with college sweetheart Greg Lott that endured through her tempestuous on -off romance with O’Neal. While Hollywood sighed at O’Neal’s apparently loving reunion with Farrah in her years battling cancer before her death in 2009 aged 62 Lott claims he was her only lover for the last 11 years of her life.
“It was an exclusive relationship, ” says Lott, 67, who has revealed an array of Farrah’s tender love letters. “She was with me.”
A celebrity-packed court case was set to begin in Los Angeles yesterday to determine ownership of the painting, hoping to unravel a mystery that might confound even the detective skills of Charlie’s Angels. At the centre of the drama is the portrait painted by Warhol in 1980: one of two almost identical images owned by Farrah. When she died the actress bequeathed all her artwork to the University of Texas, which she attended before fi nding fame in Hollywood. The university received one Warhol portrait of Farrah but was informed by Lott that Farrah had owned a second Warhol portrait that had gone missing.
|Similar article in Closer on sale now|
The university hired detectives who eventually found the Warhol portrait while watching TV: it was in a wall in Ryan O’Neal’s Malibu beachfront home, depicted in his reality series The O’Neals, about his fractious relationship with daughter Tatum. When the university sued O’Neal, claiming that he had taken its painting from Farrah’s home days after her death, he counter-sued insisting that it was a gift from Warhol that belonged to him and opened the floodgates to expose the tangled web of Farrah’s love life.
This week’s trial is expected to focus on her stormy romance with O’Neal. The longtime couple never wed, had son Redmond in 1985 and split up in 1997. "Thank you for making it so special. Great food, great weather, great sex, great, great you," Farrah Fawcett
O’Neal, 71, confessed in depositions that Farrah had caught him in bed with another woman in February 1997 and threw him out of their house. “She boxed a few things and sent them to me,” he admitted.
“I was so surprised. I was with her for 18 years. I only got four boxes, mostly shoes and video tapes.”
But O’Neal claims Farrah gave him one of her two Warhol portraits that he kept until his subsequent girlfriends disapproved of seeing Farrah smiling down on them and he tried to give it back to her “The reason I gave it to her is because there was a new woman in my life and the painting was making her uncomfortable that Farrah seemed to be staring at her,” he said. “And so I said, ‘Well, I can fi x that.’ I took it to Farrah and said, ‘Keep this for me. I’ll be back.’ ”
But Farrah enjoyed the idea that her portrait was tormenting O’Neal’s new lover and told him, “I don’t want it because I like it that she’s uncomfortable,” he claims. Only a year later did Farrah relent and agree to take back Ryan’s copy of the Warhol, he says. Though separated, Farrah and O’Neal remained friends and during her long battle with cancer he was often at her side, giving Hollywood the impression that their love story was never-ending.
But that was just a lie, claims Lott, who was a football star at the University of Texas and Farrah’s. Supporting the university’s claim that Farrah owned the Warhol picture and wanted it left to the college, Lott has revealed a secret romance they rekindled in 1997 and which endured until her death.
“She saw no one else and I saw no one else but her,” he says, dismissing the many poignant photos of a dying Farrah with O’Neal. “Photographs mean nothing. She was with me.” Lott revealed years of photographs and love letters between them during his pre-trial deposition. In one amorous note penned while Farrah flew back to Hollywood, she wrote: “Thank you for making it so special. Great food, great weather, great sex, great, great you.”
In another she wrote: “To find you and happiness again is something I will be for ever grateful for. You are my north, my south, my east and my west… I love you for ever and more, Farrah.” One Valentine’s Day she wrote: “Will you be my Valentine for 1999 and for ever, until the end of time?”
During a trip to Vienna with Redmond in 2003 she wrote to Lott: “I have been thinking of you the entire time and am waiting for Redmond to leave the room or my side long enough to call you.” A later note, written from her hospital bed in Germany where she sought a cancer cure in 2008, spoke sadly of her longing: “I miss you so much and sometimes the loneliness makes me cry.”
But in her dying days O’Neal stepped in and banned Farrah from seeing Lott against her will, the former lover claims.
“I wasn’t allowed to see her before she died or go to her funeral,” says Lott. “I was barred. It’s one of the worst things that has ever happened to me. He kept me from seeing the love of my life before she died.” Lott dismisses the claim that O’Neal was Farrah’s love until the end. “I know what I had with her,” says Lott. “He didn’t have that. He blew it.”
|Lott confronts O'Neal|
The University of Texas dismissed O’Neal’s claim that he loaned his Warhol to Farrah, noting that she insured both paintings and had loaned them to the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, signing documents saying that she was the owner. The drama playing out this week in the Los Angeles Superior Court promises an all-star cast, including O’Neal, Redmond, Farrah’s best friend Rod Stewart’s ex-wife Alana and Charlie’s Angels co-star Jaclyn Smith. Among the evidence the court could see is a postcard that O’Neal sent to Lott after Farrah’s funeral: “For Greg Lott – nobody wins. Peace. Ryan O’Neal.”
This week someone will win a valuable Warhol portrait but Farrah’s storybook romance with O’Neal may now be lost for ever.
Article Link here
Los Angeles (CNN) -- Actor Ryan O'Neal told a jury on Monday that he is the rightful owner of an Andy Warhol celebrity portrait that hangs over his bed. It is of the woman he considers the love of his life, "Charlie's Angels" star Farrah Fawcett.
Fawcett, who died of cancer in 2009, bequeathed her art collection to her alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin; the university is accusing O'Neal of stealing away with its Warhol.
"The painting is mine," testified the 72-year-old actor, who rose to fame as the impossibly handsome star of the 1960s television soap opera "Peyton Place" and the 1970 film "Love Story."
He admitted taking the portrait, a striking black and white print with ruby red lips and turquoise eyes, from a wall outside the bedroom of Fawcett's Wilshire Boulevard condominium about a week after her death on June 25, 2009.
"I removed the painting a week or more after she died," he testified.
Over the heated objections of O'Neal's lawyer, Marty Singer, the jury heard about how the portrait came to leave the beach house in the wake of the couple's infamous "falling out" in February 1997. The love affair between two baby boomer icons hit an extremely rough patch when she walked in on him in bed with a much younger woman.
"That person that was in her -- in your beach house at the time was 25 years old, right?" an attorney for the university, David Beck, asked. Singer's objection was sustained before O'Neal could answer. Beck persisted, asking if Fawcett was "furious."
"No," O'Neal responded. "She was hurt. She was in shock." He added that she felt "pitiful and disgraced."
Beck pushed on, asking whether the portrait was hanging over his bed at the time.
"It was," O'Neal acknowledged.
But not for much longer.
"About a year after the incident I asked her to keep the portrait with her, store it for me, because my young friend was uncomfortable with Farrah staring at her," O'Neal testified.
Fawcett's response, according to his testimony: "I'd like you to leave it there because I want to make her uncomfortable."
By the time Fawcett moved into her L.A. condo in 1999, she had possession of the Warhol portrait -- as well as a twin print Warhol created at the same time. O'Neal insisted they reconciled a couple of years later. "She forgave me."
Like so many of the facts in this case, the impetus for Fawcett's turn as a model for Warhol is in dispute. O'Neal says Warhol, an old friend of many years, approached him in 1980, about a year after he started seeing Fawcett. By then she was already famous for her role on "Charlie's Angels" and that ubiquitous red bathing suit pin-up poster.
But Beck has suggested another scenario. He says Warhol approached Fawcett directly, at a luncheon at a Houston country club.
Later, he said, he received a call to pick up the paintings and saw them stacked with several others, including portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley. O'Neal said he and Fawcett each received a painting as part of the deal. They carried them out and loaded them into a Checker cab.
And so, O'Neal said, he can't steal what's already his. He also said it was his idea that Fawcett leave her art to the University of Texas, but that the Warhol portraits weren't part of the plan.
The university sued O'Neal first, demanding in 2011 that he turn over the portrait so it could be displayed with its twin. The actor countersued, in turn seeking a court order giving him a tablecloth Warhol decorated with painted hearts. It is included in the Fawcett collection, but O'Neal insists Warhol painted it for both of them.
The other portrait, which differs slightly from the one in O'Neal's beach house, hangs in the university's Blanton Museum of Art in Austin. Singer says the university's insistence on possessing both portraits is financially motivated, but O'Neal just wants to pass the portrait on to the couple's son, Redmond.
"Redmond," her letter began, "It is important that you know that not only on this Christmas Day but in all that days since you were born and in all the years that follow, you, sweet boy, are the love of my life. My most special gift from God. I look at life differently now since I became ill. I look at every day with appreciation and gratefulness. It changed my outlook knowing that life could be taken away so easily. There is a quote that has more meaning to me now and I hope you will be able to use it at 22 years old instead of 60 years old. 'You don't get to choose how or when you are going to die. You can only decide how you are going to live.' I don't want any regrets because I waited too long. Life is a miraculous gift and as your mother I want to guide you to appreciate yours."
O'Neal was the first witness to take the stand Monday morning, followed by a high-end mover who handled both Warhols when Fawcett moved into the condo in 1999.
Craig Nevius, a television producer who worked with Fawcett on the reality show "Chasing Farrah," occupied much of the afternoon and is expected to return to the witness stand on Tuesday, when jurors will be shown video excerpts that include a trip with a celebrity auctioneer to a storage facility to view one of the Warhol portraits, Fawcett's famous red tank suit and other memorabilia.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Some of the items up for auction
A. A Farrah Fawcett Set of 14K and 18K Gold Rings, 1960s. The first a gold band adorned with a green stone and minuscule diamonds, inside engraved “I Love You L.M. 7-28-68 14K,” an early gift from Lee Majors; the second a gold band, outside engraved “FLF” [Farrah Leni Fawcett], inside stamped “18K;” included with a ‘Letter of Provenance’ signed by Gregory S. Walls, Farrah Fawcett’s nephew and consignor of The Personal Property of Farrah Fawcett.
B. A Farrah Fawcett ‘Texas Film Hall of Fame’ Award, 2003. Presented to the Texas-born actress for her overall contribution to television and film throughout the years; included with a ‘Letter of Provenance’ signed by Gregory S. Walls, Farrah Fawcett’s nephew and consignor of The Personal Property of Farrah Fawcett.
D. A Farrah Fawcett Twice-Signed Passport, 1980. A standard issue American passport, dated “Feb. 13, 1980,” depicting a color headshot of the 33 year-old actress on page 4 (which is signed in black felt-tip ink “Farrah Fawcett-Majors”), her vital statistics and a black ballpoint ink signature on page 3, various foreign entry and exit stamps from countries including England, France, Italy, Mexico, Switzerland, and Venezuela, ending on “March 25, 1985″ when the passport was canceled; included with a ‘Letter of Provenance’ signed by Gregory S. Walls, Farrah Fawcett’s nephew and consignor of The Personal Property of Farrah Fawcett.
A Farrah Fawcett Costume from “Small Sacrifices.” ABC Television, 1989. Three pieces: 1) a black leather crop jacket, side buckles, four button snap front closure, label reads “The Leather Ranch;” 2) a pair of peach-colored nylon stretch pants, label on back pocket reads “A Bojeangles Original Skin-Ease,” second label reads “Capriccio;” and 3) a matching halter top, same label as pants; jacket and pants worn by the star as she portrayed convicted murderer “Diane Downs” in pivotal scenes of the film which garnered her nominations for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award; included with a ‘Letter of Provenance’ signed by Gregory S. Walls, Farrah Fawcett’s nephew and consignor of The Personal Property of Farrah Fawcett
LINK is http://radaronline.com/photos/farrah-fawcetts-belongings-up-for-auction/photo/598025/