Rip Torn has died. The 88-year-old was at his home in Lakeville, Connecticut. Although his career spanned more than six decades and included both stage and screen, he was best known for “The Larry Sanders Show” and the “Men in Black” franchise.
The actor with the government name of Elmore Rual Torn Jr. was born in Temple, Texas and studied acting at Texas AM and the University of Texas. After a stint in the army, he went to Los Angeles in the mid-1950s. He made his film debut in the 1956 film, “Baby Doll,” before moving to New York City to study at the Actor’s Studio.
Torn also had a reputation for less than stellar behavior throughout his career. He notoriously hit Norman Mailer with a hammer while making “Maidstone” in 1970. The brawl that ensued between the two was included in the finished movie. Dennis Hopper accused Rip of threatening him with a knife during pre-production on “Easy Rider” in 1994 during an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” Torn sued Hopper for defamation and won more than $900-thousand dollars in punitive and compensatory damages. And in 2010, he was arrested for breaking into a bank in Lakeville, and later charged with carrying a firearm without a permit and carrying a firearm while intoxicated. He received a suspended sentence and probation.
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.