Rip Torn, actor known for 'Men in Black' and 'The Larry Sanders Show,' dies at 88

 

Rip Torn, the actor best known for playing Artie on HBO’s “The Larry Sanders Show” and Zed in ‘Men in Black’ died Tuesday at his home in Lakeville, Connecticut, his representatives said. He was 88.

In a career spanning more than six decades, Torn established himself as a versatile performer, appearing in 10 Broadway plays and directing one, more than 80 feature films, and dozens of television appearances.

Born Elmore Rual Torn Jr. in Temple, Texas in 1931, Torn studied acting at Texas A&M and the University of Texas and served a stint in the US Army before heading to Los Angeles in the mid 1950s to pursue an acting career. He made his film 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.

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Rip Torn through the years
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Rip Torn through the years
FAYETTEVILLE - NOVEMBER 14: Rip Torn as General Ulysses S. Grant of the Union Army, appears in The Blue and the Gray. The epic mini-series about the American Civil War originally broadcast in three parts, beginning Sunday, November 14, 1982 on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
Actor Rip Torn in a scene from the movie 'Cross Creek', 1983. (Photo by Stanley Bielecki Movie Collection/Getty Images)
Actor Rip Torn is seen, Feb. 28, 1984. (AP Photo/Wally Fong)
NBC MONDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES -- "The Execution" -- Pictured: (l-r) Rip Torn as Wilheim Gehbert, Loretta Swit as Marysia Walenka -- (Photo by: Herb Ball/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 18: Rip Torn (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 18: Rip Torn (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 18: Rip Torn (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images)
Actor Rip Torn attending 16th Annual Cable Ace Awards on January 15, 1995 at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Actor Rip Torn attending 'Drama League of New York Awards Luncheon' on May 1997 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Actor Rip Torn attending the premiere of 'Freddy Got Fingered' on April 18, 2001 at Mann Village Theater in Westwood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Rip Torn during "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" World Premiere - Red Carpet at Mann Village Theater in Westwood, California, United States. (Photo by L. Cohen/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 28: Actor Rip Torn arrives at the premiere of DreamWorks Animation's "Bee Movie" at the Mann Village Theatre on October 28, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LITCHFIELD, CA - JUNE 8: Actor Rip Torn enters Litchfield Superior Court for a hearing in connection with charges of criminal trespass, carrying a gun without a permit, carrying a gun while intoxicated, burglary and criminal mischief June 8, 2010 in Litchfield, Connecticut. Torn had broken into a bank in Lakeville, Connecticut while intoxicated last January after he had mistaken it for his home. (Photo by Wendy Carlson/Getty Images)
PARSIPPANY, NJ - APRIL 25: Rip Torn attends day 2 of the Chiller Theater Expo at Sheraton Parsippany Hotel on April 25, 2015 in Parsippany, New Jersey. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
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From there he established himself as a prolific stage actor, making his Broadway debut in the original cast of Tennessee Williams’ “Sweet Bird of Youth” as as “Tom, Jr.”, a role he would reprise for the feature film and TV movie adaptations. We was nominated for a Tony award in 1960 and received a Theater World award for his performance.

Known for his gravely drawl and sinister-looking smile, Torn excelled playing shady, amoral characters and outright villains, such as his depiction of the villain Maax in the fantasy film “Beastmaster,” but he could also project no-nonsense authority figures, like the celestial attorney Bob Diamond in Albert Brooks’ “Defending Your Life,” or Zed in the first two “Men in Black” films. And in one of his most celebrated later roles, he combined those attributes in “DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story,” playing the sleazy mentor Patches O’Houlihan, and delivering one of the film’s funniest lines: “if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.”

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Read original story Rip Torn, Actor Known for ‘Men in Black’ and ‘The Larry Sanders Show,’ Dies at 88 At TheWrap

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