Remember that nude painting of the late actress Bea Arthur that sold to an anonymous buyer at a Christie’s action for nearly $2 million last week? Well, yesterday afternoon, comedian Jeffrey Ross sent a pretty stunning tweet, revealing that the mystery buyer was none other than late-night host Jimmy Kimmel. “Biggest surprise of my life. Thank you @jimmykimmel – the most generous guy in the world!” Ross wrote, linking to a photo of himself holding what appeared to be the painting. Kimmel, in turn, tweeted back, “@realjeffreyross Bea is watching over us, but especially you.”
Various news outlets quickly jumped on the story but, alas, some nude-Bea-Arthur-painting-related rumors are just too beautiful for this world. Kimmel tweeted last night that it was all just a joke and he had not, in fact, purchased the painting of the Maude and Golden Girls star: “Contrary to ‘news’ reports, I didn’t buy the Bea Arthur painting – not even for @realjeffreyross – but I did buy the Mona Lisa Lampanelli.” (A rep for Kimmel told The Hollywood Reporter that the painting in Ross’ tweet was actually a prop from Jimmy Kimmel Live!)
So who did fork over $1.9 million for artist John Currie’s 1991 work, “Bea Arthur Naked”? Well, we still don’t know for sure. But we can say this: Jay Leno has not actually come out and denied it.