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A portrait of actress Farrah Fawcett by Pop artist Andy Warhol is the subject of a heated legal battle. Actor Ryan O’Neal, who had a long relationship with Fawcett, is fighting the University of Texas at Austin for ownership of the work.

When she passed away in 2009, Fawcett left her art collection to the University of Texas, her alma mater. However, O’Neal is claiming that Warhol had personally given him the silkscreen of Fawcett. The case, which went to trial Wednesday, is expected to take two weeks to resolve.

Warhol’s portrait of Fawcett is estimated to be worth $30 million.

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The university has asked a Los Angeles judge to order the Oscar-nominated star to hand over the painting it claims the actress bequeathed its Austin campus.

O'Neal's spokesman said the portrait was one of two Warhol made of the Charlie's Angels star in 1979.

Arnold Robinson added the legal action was "completely ridiculous".

The university had hired investigators to track down the Warhol portrait,. However, its whereabouts was discovered after O'Neal's current reality TV show revealed it to be hanging above his bed at his Malibu home.

In a statement, Mr Robinson said the university had known for more than a year that the actor had the painting, which is thought to be worth $30m (£18.7m).

"Ryan O'Neal's friendship with Andy Warhol began 10 years prior to his meeting Farrah Fawcett," Mr Robinson said.

"When Ryan introduced Andy to Farrah, Mr Warhol chose to complete two portraits of her, one for Ms Fawcett and one for Mr O'Neal."

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Here's some advice: If you're harboring a missing $30 million Warhol in your home, try to take it off the wall before filming an interview for your new reality show. Failure to follow this simple maxim has led a private investigator searching for a Pop Farrah Fawcett portrait straight to actor Ryan O'Neal, the late actress's longtime partner. The missing Warhol silkscreen portrait can be seen hanging above O'Neal's bed in the first episode of "Ryan and Tatum: The O'Neals," a documentary series about the actor and his daughter on the OWN network.  

The investigator was hired by Fawcett's alma mater, the University of Texas, where she studied art. In her living trust, the "Charlie's Angels" star left her entire art collection to the university — but when the institution slowly began assembling Fawcett's holdings after her death two years ago, it was unable to track down one of the two portraits Warhol made of Fawcett in 1980. They are reportedly the most valuable works in her collection.

A passage in actress Tatum O'Neal's new memoir, "Found: A Daughter's Journey Home," initially tipped off the university to the portrait's whereabouts. O'Neal describes her father's home: "On every wall, there are pictures of us and the rest of the family in our golden days. The original poster from 'Paper Moon,' Andy Warhol's portrait of Farrah." Good one, Tatum.

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