Rip Torn, ‘Larry Sanders Show’ Star, Dies At 88
Versatile actor Rip Torn died on Tuesday at the age of 88.
The actor passed away in his home in Lakeville, Connecticut. His publicist Rick Miramontez announced his death.
Torn was a well-known actor who played diverse roles as Walt Whitman, Richard Nixon and Judas Iscariot. His role as Artie in The Larry Sanders Show brought him more fame, where he earned six Emmy Award nominations for supporting actor in a comedy series. He won the award in 1996. The show ran from 1992 to 1998 on HBO.
He is also seen in Men in Black (1997) and earned the same role in the 2002 sequel.
He also received Obie Awards for his Off-Broadway work, as an actor in Norman Mailer’s The Deer Park and as the director of Michael McClure‘s The Beard.
Despite being on stage and on screen for so long, Torn was only nominated once for a Tony for his performance as a sadistic young man in Sweet Bird of Youth. He was also only nominated once for an Academy Award for his role in Cross Creek. He did not win either of the awards.
The actor once acknowledged that he gets angry easily, which could explain why he won neither award because it corrupted his reputation.
In 1997 he told The Los Angeles Times, “I just don’t give people trouble anymore. I say, ‘Excuse me, I only fight with friends.’ And I walk away.”
Dennis Hopper told a story on The Tonight Show in 1994 about how Torn pulled a knife on him during an argument in the 1960s. This was apparently the reason for why Torn was not cast in Hopper’s film Easy Rider. Instead, the role of the Southern lawyer was given to Jack Nicholson.
Torn remembered the story Hopper told on The Tonight Show and recalled that it was actually Hopper who pulled a knife on him. He sued him for defamation and won.
The actor has been a part of other incidents, such as being arrested for drunk-driving several times and breaking into a bank with a loaded gun. He explained that he had been intoxicated and thought the bank was his house. He pleaded guilty and was given a suspended sentence and placed on probation for three years.
Torn was married to Ann Wedgeworth in 1955, then Geraldine Page in 1963, two years after he and Wedgeworth divorced. They got remarried until her death in 1987, but Torn had already begun a long-term relationship with actress Amy Wright.
The actor also has four daughters. Danae from his first marriage, Angelica Page from his second, and Katie and Claire from his relationship with Wright. He also has two sons, Anthony and Jonathan, from his second marriage.
In an interview with The Times, Torn credited Page for teaching the secret of emotional health.
“I learned from Gerry that all you need is time on the stage,” the actor said. “No matter how I felt, no matter what said about me, I always had the audience.”