TODAY   |  November 13, 2013

Ryan O’Neal accused of stealing Farrah Fawcett painting

Trial is set to begin Tuesday for actor Ryan O’Neal, known for such movies as “Love Story,” who is accused of stealing a painting of his former lover, actress Farrah Fawcett, who died in 2009. NBC’s Mike Taibbi reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> a high stakes legal fight is underway over a painting of the late farrah fawcett . it was created by andy warhol but who does it belong to?

>> reporter: it's a 1980 screen of the woman whose radiant beauty in shows like charlie's angles defined her career but who actually owned this one? three years before he death in 2009 , she said she did.

>> how many did he make of you?

>> no.

>> two.

>> wow.

>> well, he made probably three -- well, i don't know. i have two.

>> reporter: but o'neill, the love story actor that was her on again off again lover said warhol gave this one to him. he said he only moved it temporarily to fawcett's house when a new girlfriend objected to it and brought it back to his house after fawcett's death. it was visible in his own reality show with daughter tatum. that's when the university of texas made the move. she left all art work and any objects of art to the university of texas . ryan counters that the painting was always his and that the they're greedily trying to take his portrait of the love of his life.

>> it may come down to how good of an actor mr. o'neill is if he can play out that emotional side of it and it's believable.

>> reporter: the list of witnesses could cast a soap opera . son and daughter and actress and former charlie's angels jacqueline smith . when she died, he talked about her on today.

>> she loved me. she said so. she loved me.

>> reporter: but there's a lot of money in the balance.

>> there's so much at stake and if nobody is giving ground, if there's no way to compromise, i don't know how they would.

>> reporter: an original estimates say could be worth $30 million. for today, nbc news los angeles .