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Melvin Belli

Melvin Belli parachuted into my life in 1995 in New York City when he became infatuated with a petite blonde colleague of mine who used me as a foil to avoid his persistent advances. I consequently spent many hours sitting around listening to his inexhaustible bank of extraordinary stories and assuring him that, “Carol would be back any minute.” We eventually touched on the subject of my painting his portrait but he was gone within a few months and it was not to be in his lifetime. Later, I met his son Caesar and visited Caesar’s mother Joy in Palm Springs, CA. I painted two portraits of Mel: a soft, flattering version with multiple memorabilia in the background, the other “Mel the Bellicose”, with cowboy boots and bordello red suit lining. He truly was the “King of Torts” and I revere his memory.

Portrait of Melvin Belli
Belli, Melvin. 25" x 33". 2005. Collection of Estate of Gary B. Pillersdorf. New York, NY.

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"The credit belongs to the one who is actually in the arena."

Theodore Roosevelt


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