201501.15 0

Money Can’t Buy You an Oscar

Money can buy a lot of things.  It may even be able to buy you love, but it certainly can’t buy you an Oscar.
Robert Surtees won three Oscars for cinematography – for “King Solomon’s Mines” (1950), “The Bad and the Beautiful” (1953) and “Ben-Hur” (1959).  His Oscar for “The Bad and the Beautiful” has recently been tarnished by becoming the subject of litigation involving Mr. Surtees’ heir.
Upon Robert Surtees death in 1985, his son, Bruce Surtees, inherited the Oscar.  His son died in 2012, whereby Bruce’s wife, Carol Surtees, subsequently inherited the Oscar.  She then attempted to sell it on eBay for $40,500.  As a member of the Academy, Robert Surtees was bound by the Academy’s Bylaws which state:
In consideration for your delivering said replica to me, I agree to comply with your rules and regulations respecting its use and not to sell or otherwise dispose of it, nor permit it to be sold or disposed of by operation of law, without first offering to sell it to you for the sum of $10.00 . . . This agreement shall be binding not only on me, but also on my heirs, legatees, executors, administrators, estate successors and assigns.  My legatees and heirs shall have the right to acquire said replica, if it becomes part of my estate, subject to this agreement.”
One would think the Academy would value its prizes at more than $10.   The Academy sued Carol Surtees and any of her accomplices in a complaint filed December 15, 2014.  Stay tuned for the result.