Legendary Actor, Rip Torn, Known For 'Men In Black' And 'The Larry Sanders Show', Dies At 88

Legendary Actor, Rip Torn, Known For 'Men In Black' And 'The Larry Sanders Show', Dies At 88

According to Torn's representative, he passed away peacefully in the presence of his family on Tuesady afternoon.

After a pretty entertaining life, the immensely talented Grammy-award winning actor Rip Torn passed away at his home in Lakeville Connecticut, on Tuesday afternoon. Torn's publicist, Rick Miramontez confirmed the 88-year-old's death and mentioned how the Oscar and Tony-nominated actor was surrounded by his wife Amy Wright and daughters Angelica Page and  Katie Torn as he took his last breath, according to ABC News. The cause of death is yet to be disclosed. The free-spirited Texan was born to an agriculturalist and economist, Elmore Rual "Tiger" Torn Senior and Thelma Mary Torn, the aunt of actress Sissy Spacek.



The love for acting was instilled in him from a very young age and for that very reason he even took up acting as a subject taught by a Shakespearean professor B. Iden Payne, while graduating from the University of Texas. Under Payne, Torn bloomed into the actor he was. However, after he finished his college education he went on to serve in the Military Police in the US Army. He then moved to Hollywood to fulfill his dreams of becoming an actor.


Torn's acting roles over the past seven decades ranged from several dark and aggressive roles at the beginning of his career to his memorable comical performance towards the latter part of his life. He was lauded for his performances in dramas like Cross Creek, Blues for Mister Charlie, and Sweet Bird of Youth, however, he soon turned to comedy and enraptured the audience with his performance in The Larry Sanders Show and went on to pocket an Emmy for the same. The talk show created by Garry Shandling aired from 1992 to 1998 and received critical acclaim from everyone. It also inspired other satirical shows such as Curb Your Enthusiasm and 30 Rock.


He kick-started his career by debuting in Kazan's 1956 black comedy film Baby Doll and then went on to play a role in the director's A Face in the Crowd. However, he went west and under the talented Lee Strasberg, studied at the Actors Studio in New York. Soon Torn and Page "became a glamorous couple in theater circles, assuming roles on the board of the Actors Studio and organizing bashes at the Chateau Marmont when they were in Los Angeles" just like peers Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks or Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman, according to the New York Times. 



Initially, the Elmore Rual Torn-born actor gained much success in his 1950s live television role in Playhouse 90 and Omnibus, as compared to his onstage performances. The actor then caught more traction after assuming the role of Gregory Peck’s brother-in-law in the 1959 war epic Pork Chop Hill and the role of Judas in 1961 epic King of Kings. As for his Off-Broadway career, he debuted in O’Neill’s Desire Under the Elms and finally won an Obie for his exceptional performance in Norman Mailer’s Deer Park. A mild setback occurred due to his alleged erratic behavior. 


The actor didn't let go of his rebellious character. "What do they say about all the guys that are tremendous actors?" he said during a 2006 interview with the New York Times. "Don't they say they have a volatile temper and emotions? Yeah, sure they do! They're not saying they like a nice, mild guy. Look at Sean Penn." During the shooting of the movie Maidstone, Torn allegedly attacked Norman Mailer with a hammer on set as he was frustrated by the creative direction.


After this incident, Dennis Hopper went on the Tonight Show in 1994 and claimed Torn charged him with a knife, for which the late actor sued Hopped on accounts of defamation and claimed it was the other way round. While Torn won a sum of $950,000 in court his career was affected dearly as people still believed Hopper's version. He told the Associated Press, "I wouldn't say that I was blacklisted...but the word got around that I was difficult and unreliable. Unreliable! In all my years in the theater, I have never missed a performance."


However, Torn invested all his energy in The Larry Sanders Show which started airing in 1992. Apart from playing a number of historic personages of Kit Carson, Walt Whitman,  Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Henry Miller, he went on to hit the big screen roles of Tropic of Cancer, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Coma, Crazy Joe, The Seduction of Joe Tynan, and Heartland during the 1970s. He was even nominated for an Oscar for his 1984 film Cross Creek. He eventually went on to star in hit movies like City Heat and Men in Black. He also voiced the character Zeus in the Hercules movie and Patches O'Houlihan, in the film DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story.  Torn used to be married to Geraldine Page, after which he tied the knot with actress Ann Wedgeworth. He is survived by his third wife, actress Amy Wright and their children, Danae, Claire, Jonathan, Katie, as well asTony and Angelica from his previous marriage. 


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