NEW YORK -- Actor Robert Mitchum, being sued for $30 million by a photographer who says he knocked her teeth out with a basketball, must learn 'he cannot do offstage what he does on stage,' an attorney said Friday.
Mitchum, 67, whose sleepy eyes and 'I-don't-care attitude' made him famous in dozens of films, including 'Farewell My Lovely,' and 'The Big Sleep,' is being sued by Yvonne Hemsey, 35, a freelance photographer who contributes to Time magazine.
She said she was hit with the basketball Dec. 8, 1982, at the premier party for the film 'That Championship Season.'
'He hurt her badly,' said attorney Joseph Ettinger. 'She got a serious injury to her neck and will lose two teeth.'
Mitchum, accompanied by his own lawyer, looked tan and fit as he emerged from a two-hour meeting at Ettinger's office in Manhattan Friday. Mitchum had been ordered by the court to meet with Ettinger, the lawyer said.
The case is scheduled for U.S. District Court in Manhattan, but no date has been set.
Mitchum, surrounded by photographers, made no comment on the case as he left Ettinger's office.
'Mr. Mitchum must once and for all be taught that he cannot do offstage what he does on stage,' Ettinger said.
'The time has come when Mr. Mitchum must learn that the public will not tolerate or condone unwarranted brute force, especially when directed at a woman by a man.'
Ettinger said Miss Hemsey was on assignment for Time covering the premiere party for 'That Championship Season,' a movie starring Mitchum based on the Broadway play, when the incident occurred.
The film's plot centers on a reunion of five middle-age basketball players and includes a scene in which the character played by Mitchum pushes a ball in the face of actor Paul Sorvino.
'Everyone was taking his picture -- all of the press was lined up and she was dead center,' said Ettinger. 'The next thing, she doesn't see anything.'
Ettinger said Mitchum without provocation smashed the basketball into Miss Hemsey's face.
Ettinger said he is seeking $15 million in compensatory and $15 million in punitive damages from the film star.
Miss Hemsey still freelances for Time magazine, a spokesman for the photo department at the magazine said.