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Rip Torn Dies; Veteran Film and TV Star Was 88

Rip Torn, an Emmy-Award winning actor known for a number of high-profile movie and television roles, died on Tuesday at his home in Connecticut. 

He was 88 years old.

Rip Torn Image

The veteran actor’s publicist confirmed the news, telling outlets that Torn’s wife and two daughters were by his side when he passed away. 

No cause of death has been given at this time, however.

Throughout a career that incredibly spanned six decades, Torn established himself as a versatile performer who could excel in drama or comedy; on the big screen, small screen or in front of a live audience.

He appeared in 10 Broadway plays overall, even directing one, along with over 80 feature films, and dozens of television programs.

He may forever be remembered most, however, for his role on HBO’s The Larry Sanders Show, on which he played a TV produer and won his aforementioned Emmy.

Rip Torn in 2009

The late star’s  real name was Elmore Rual Torn Jr.

He was born in Temple, Texas in 1931 and he studied acting at Texas A&M and the University of Texas prior to serving a stint in the Army and then heading to Los Angeles in the mid-1950s.

Torn made his movie debut with an uncredited role in Elia Kazan’s 1956 film Baby Doll before relocating to New York City to study at the Actor’s Studio.

The actor went on to made his Broadway debut in 1959 as part of the original cast of Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth, portraying Tom, Jr., a character he would reprise for the feature film and TV movie adaptations.

He was nominated for a Tony award in 1960 and received a Theater World award for his performance.

torn

On television Torn played such real-life and important figures as Richard Nixon, Lyndon B. Johnson and Walt Whitman.

Known not just for his unique name and talent but also for his gravely drawl and sinister-looking smile, Torn excelled at playing shady, amoral characters and outright villains.

But he could also merge this side of his personality with a comedic side, which is why many readers may recognize him as Patches O’Houlihan from the 2004 movie Dodge: An Underdog Story.

“If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball,” he said in maybe the film’s most memorable line.

rip one

For many others, Torn will always be closely associated with the role of Artie on The Larry Sanders Show.

He received six Emmy nominations, winning once in 1996, and over the show’s run was also nominated for two American Comedy awards (winning one), an American Television Award, and four Cable Ace awards (winning one), among numerous other accolades.

“R.I.P Rip Torn. He was so great in Defending Your Life.  I’ll miss you Rip, you were a true original,” Tweeted Albert Brooks in response to this sad piece of news, while Will Smith added a photo of himself and the actor from Men In Black and wrote:

R.I.P. Rip.

Torn was married three times:

To Ann Wedgeworth from 1955 to 1961, to Geraldine Page from 1963 until her death in 1987, and to Amy Wright from 1989 until his death. He is survived by Wright, his five children, his sister, and four grandchildren.

May he rest in peace.

View Slideshow: Celebrities Who Died in 2019: In Memoriam

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