Actor Ryan O'Neal was undergoing surgery for skin cancer when he found out he had won a lawsuit against officials at the University of Texas over an Andy Warhol portrait of his late partner Farrah Fawcett.
Last week (begs16Dec13), jurors in Los Angeles ruled the Love Story star is the rightful owner of the silkscreen piece, following a three-week trial.
The actor took the valuable artwork from Fawcett's home following her death in 2009, claiming it was one of two he had commissioned the iconic artist to paint, but college bosses alleged the actress left it to them in her will.
O'Neal was overjoyed by the news and became emotional during the surgical procedure when he received the verdict in a phone call.
He tells U.S. breakfast show Today, "My son Patrick called me from the courthouse... I was laying on the operating table. There was blood running down the side of my face and then there were tears running down the side of my face, kind of mixing with the blood. It was a pretty amazing moment for me."
The actor believed the case would be difficult from the beginning, but he was confident he would prevail in the end.
He continues, "This was a long shot for the University of Texas to do this, they didn't really have a case.
"(This happened because) I have enemies and one of them sent 90 emails to the regent there and said I stole it, and that it was worth $30 million... and that they should come and get it. And they finally decided that yeah, they should come and get it... fools."
O'Neal also insists the fight was never over money and has vowed to keep the painting in his family forever: "It will never be sold, it will go on to her son Redmond and his children... It was always invaluable to us. She was a wonderful woman and this is what was left, that's all that was left."
O'Neal revealed last year (12) that he is battling skin cancer.
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