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Anorak | Farrah Fawcett Wins First Emmy

Farrah Fawcett Wins First Emmy

by | 12th, September 2009

farrah_fawcett-emmyFARRAH Fawcett has died, but in TV-land she lives on, and is tipped to win an Emmy for her celebrity cancer show. Anorak’s Man in LA looks at developing storm:

Farrah Fawcett may finally win an Emmy on Saturday night, an award that’s eluded her in three previous nominations in as many decades (The Burning Bed, Small Sacrifices & The Guardian). Should she win posthumously for the controversial Farrah’s Story, the statuette won’t be for her acting, but for her role as executive producer of the documentary she made chronicling her fight with cancer.

Meanwhile, Craig Nevius, Farrah’s fellow producing nominee, is only beginning his own fight: a legal war with Ryan O’Neal over who has the right to tell Farrah’s real story.

Nevius and Farrah worked for almost two years on an unconventional yet inspirational “video diary” that would tell Farrah’s story from her point of view. Yet, after Farrah sold the material to NBC and her health took a turn for the worse in April, she turned her affairs over to longtime lover O’Neal, who took control of the documentary, kicked Nevius to the curb and rejigged it with the help of NBC Dateline into an exploitation of a celebrity’s death with a nod to his own film, Love Story.

Nevius filed a lawsuit against O’Neal, his business manager Richard Francis, and Alana Stewart, Farrah’s friend who helped shoot some of the documentary footage and later held out for producing credit that has her up for an Emmy as well.

The lawsuit was in court this week. A Tabloid Baby contributor was there and sends us this unsolicited report:

“After Craig Nevius filed suit, O’Neal and Francis responded quickly and in full force by retaining the very prestigious and very powerful law firm of Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp to defend them against Nevius’ claims, which the world-class attorneys characterized in court papers as “meritless,” “frivolous” and “ludicrous.”

Attorneys Kim Swartz and Karin Pagnanelli of MSK also attempted to minimize if not completely deny Nevius’ true contribution to the documentary and his position in the company that he and Farrah had formed to own and license the documentary worldwide (Sweetened By Risk LLC).

Nevius filed a motion to disqualify Swartz, Pagnanelli and their 100-year old law firm for conflict of interest. He claims that MSK had previously represented him as a producer as well an owner and member of Sweetened By Risk LLC (with Farrah).
Swartz, Pagnanelli and MSK have denied that any such attorney-client relationship existed and produced an alternate SBR LLC Operating Agreement dated June 5, 2008 (approximately eight weeks after Farrah and Nevius signed the Apri 1, 2008 Operating Agreement). This “renewal” agreement appears to have been unilaterally executed by Farrah — with the now much more familiar strained and scrawled signature identical to the already suspect signature from the April 20th, 2009 “Delegation of Authority” (to Ryan O’Neal and his business manager Richard Francis).

MSK’s point seemed to be that Nevius was not anything more than a disgruntled employee who was angry at Farrah (for some unspecified reason) and sought ownership and/or control of the documentary and SBR LLC out of revenge. At a hearing on September 1st, MSK sent in a “big gun”: managing partner Thomas P. Lambert appeared in court to make arguments against the disqualification of Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp over a dispute in a two person LLC with only one asset.
Across the table from Lambert and company was a single lawyer representing Nevius: Miles Feldman of Liner, Grode, Stein, Yankelevitz, Sunshine, Regenstreif & Taylor LLP.
Judge Joseph S. Biderman granted Nevius’ motion for the disqualification (the “tentative ruling” has since been made official).

Judge Biderman agreed with Nevius’ attorney that this was a dispute about ownership and control of SBR and the film. Therefore there was conflict of interest for the company’s’s attorneys (Swartz and Pagnanelli et al) who would likely be called as witnesses over the various agreements and delegations that they allegedly drew up for SBR LLC and Farrah sign from what seemed to be her deathbed.

As a result Judge Biderman’s ruling, O’Neal and Francis must now retain new, unbiased representation or formally appeal the motion in the hopes that Biderman will be overturned.
Nevius was seen in the courtroom.

None of the defendants was present.

Both the plaintiff and the defendants, however, are expected to be at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday night for the Creative Arts Emmy Awards. Farrah’s Story is the favorite to win the Emmy for Outstanding Nonfiction Special.
As Nevius said in his recent interview with Retroality.tv’s Chris Mann: “The fact that this documentary touched so many people (and received an Emmy nomination) is a real tribute to Farrah. It succeeded in reaching people in spite of everything that Ryan and Alana did to it (and tried to do to it). Because at the end of the day, Farrah was still Farrah.” – TB

In Hollywood no-one ever dies – the lawyers won’t let them…



Posted: 12th, September 2009 | In: Celebrities Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink