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Hugh Grant's drunken Warhol story has Britain in a tizzy

December 15, 2009 | 12:15 pm

Grant These days, most major stars are afraid to stray too far from publicist-approved talking points while promoting their latest movies. Thankfully, Hugh Grant isn't one of them.

The actor, whose movie "Did You Hear about the Morgans?" opens this month in the U.S., has the British media in a tizzy today over his revelation that he impulsively purchased an Andy Warhol painting during a drinking binge.

As reported in the British tabloid the Daily Mail, Grant said that he was on a two-day alcohol bender in 2001 when he purchased a portrait of Elizabeth Taylor by Warhol for £2 million ($3.3 million). 

Grant told the Mail that he ordered an assistant to bid for the painting at an auction in New York. "And to my horror, she did, and even worse, got it," he said.

But the story has a happy ending.

Grant said he sold the painting in 2007 for £13 million.

A blogger for the Guardian called the actor's anecdote "a lovely story" about the modern art market:

"Forget the apocalyptic diatribes, dark prophesies, moral seethings," wrote Jonathan Jones. "Here is the reality of art and money in the 21st century. You're drunk (and affluent), you buy a Warhol. A few years later the value of recent art has so escalated that you can make an astronomical – previously unimaginable – profit on it."

"Did You Hear About the Morgans?," which costars Sarah Jessica Parker, opens nationwide on Friday, Dec. 18.

-- David Ng

Photo: Hugh Grant at an event for his latest film in New York. Credit: Bryan Bedder / Getty Images