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Rip Torn

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Also Known As: Elmore Rual Torn Jr. Died:
Born: February 6, 1931 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Temple, Texas, USA Profession: actor, director, cook

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One of the most prolific performers on stage, screen and in television since the late 1950s, Rip Torn was a versatile character actor and occasional lead who brought prodigious, often overpowering energy and confidence to every role he embodied - no matter how dramatic or insignificant the project. He left his native Texas in the late 1950s to make his name in show business, but found the task more daunting than imagined, so he headed for New York to train under Lee Strasberg and soak up experience in theater. His reputation as a formidable talent brought him back to Hollywood, where he essayed a vast array of characters in features ranging from "Sweet Bird of Youth" (1962) and "The Cincinnati Kid" (1965), to experimental features like "Maidstone" for Norman Mailer. Torn worked steadily throughout the 1970s and 1980s, gaining praise for his solid performances and an Oscar nomination for "Cross Creek" (1983), before vaulting to the mainstream with his Emmy-winning turn as the fearsome Artie, producer of "The Larry Sanders Show" (HBO, 1992-1998). The success of that series turned Torn into a go-to for bullish tough-love types in comedies ranging from "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" (2004) to "30...

One of the most prolific performers on stage, screen and in television since the late 1950s, Rip Torn was a versatile character actor and occasional lead who brought prodigious, often overpowering energy and confidence to every role he embodied - no matter how dramatic or insignificant the project. He left his native Texas in the late 1950s to make his name in show business, but found the task more daunting than imagined, so he headed for New York to train under Lee Strasberg and soak up experience in theater. His reputation as a formidable talent brought him back to Hollywood, where he essayed a vast array of characters in features ranging from "Sweet Bird of Youth" (1962) and "The Cincinnati Kid" (1965), to experimental features like "Maidstone" for Norman Mailer. Torn worked steadily throughout the 1970s and 1980s, gaining praise for his solid performances and an Oscar nomination for "Cross Creek" (1983), before vaulting to the mainstream with his Emmy-winning turn as the fearsome Artie, producer of "The Larry Sanders Show" (HBO, 1992-1998). The success of that series turned Torn into a go-to for bullish tough-love types in comedies ranging from "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" (2004) to "30 Rock" (NBC, 2006-13), all the while solidifying him as one of the most respected and versatile figures in the acting business.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Telephone, The (1988) Director
2.
  Maidstone (1971) 2nd Unit Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Lucky Days (2010)
2.
 American Cowslip (2009)
3.
 Afterlight, The (2009)
4.
 Golden Boys, The (2009)
5.
 Happy Tears (2009)
6.
 August (2008)
7.
8.
 Turn the River (2007)
9.
 Bee Movie (2007)
10.
 Marie Antoinette (2006)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1955:
Broadway debut as understudy and replacement for Alex Nicol (as Brick) in the original production of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"
1956:
Made film debut in Elia Kazan's "Baby Doll"
1958:
Earliest TV appearance, the NBC anthology series, "The Alcoa Hour"
1958:
Appeared in the Tennessee Williams dramas, "Orpheus Descending" and "Sweet Bird of Youth" (as Tom Finley Jr.); earned a Tony nomination for Featured Actor in a Play for the latter
1959:
Earliest prominent feature supporting role in "Pork Chop Hill" as the brother-in-law of Gregory Peck's character
1962:
Recreated his stage role in Tennessee Williams's "Sweet Bird of Youth" for the film version
1965:
Played a sleazy New Orleans blackmailer opposite Steve McQueen and Karl Malden in "The Cincinnati Kid"
1968:
Made stage directing debut with "The Beard"
1968:
First top billed role in the feature, "Beyond the Law"; directed by Norman Mailer
1970:
Starred in another Norman Mailer (also acted) directed film, "Maidstone"
1972:
Received rave reviews for his portrayal of a country & western singer in the cult film "Payday"
1976:
Starred in the cult classic science fiction movie "The Man Who Fell to Earth"
1980:
Returned to Broadway for the short-lived comedy, "Mixed Couples"
1983:
Received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his role in "Cross Creek"
1988:
Made feature film directorial debut with the offbeat comedy "The Telephone" starring Whoopi Goldberg
1990:
Played the ultra-hawkish Colonel Fargo in the HBO Original Movie "By Dawn's Early Light"
1992:
Cast as talk show producer and TV veteran Artie in "The Larry Sanders Show" (HBO); earned six consecutive Emmy (1993-1998) nominations as Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
1993:
Played the OCP CEO in the science fiction film, "Robocop 3"
1997:
Hosted the syndicated series "Ghost Stories"
1997:
Returned to Broadway to co-star with Shirley Knight in Horton Foote's "The Young Man From Atlanta"
1997:
Played the gruff boss Agent Zed in "Men in Black" opposite Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones
1997:
Voiced Zeus in Disney's animated feature "Hercules"
1999:
Starred as Father Robert Grant in the TNT movie "Passing Glory"
2000:
Featured in "Wonder Boys" opposite Michael Douglas and Tobey Maguire
2000:
Reprised the role of Agent Zed in "Men in Black II"
2003:
Cast in a recurring role as Senator Turner on the NBC drama, "The Lyon's Den"
2004:
Featured in the Comedy "Welcome to Mooseport"
2004:
Cast with Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn in the comedy "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story"
2004:
Appeared in the black comedy "Eulogy"
2005:
Played an aging music producer in Ira Sachs' independent film "Forty Shades of Blue"
2006:
Co-starred with Tim Allen and Courteney Cox in the family comedy "Zoom"
2006:
Starred as France's Louis XV in Sofia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette"
2007:
Played the recurring role of Don Geiss, the CEO and Jack's boss, on the NBC sitcom "30 Rock"; earned an Emmy nomination in 2008 for Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Lee Strasberg's Actors Studio: New York , New York -
Texas A&M University: College Station , Texas - 1948 - 1952

Notes

Torn sued actor Dennis Hopper for defamation after Hopper appeared on NBC's "The Tonight Show" in 1992 and claimed that Torn was replaced in "Easy Rider" when Torn pulled a knife on Hopper. Torn won a six-figure judgment in 1997

January 13, 2004, Torn was arrested for drunk driving after he crashed his car into a taxi in New York's Greenwich Village

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Ann Wedgeworth. Actor. Married on January 15, 1955; divorced in 1961; one daughter, Danae; acted together in the feature "Birch Interval" (1975).
wife:
Geraldine Page. Actor. Married from 1961 until her death in 1987; acted together in the films "Sweet Bird of Youth" (1962), "You're a Big Boy Now" (1967, playing husband and wife) and "Nasty Habits" (1976).
companion:
Amy Wright. Actor.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Elmore Torn.
mother:
Thelma Torn.
daughter:
Danae Torn. Mother, Ann Wedgeworth.
daughter:
Angelica Torn. Actor. Born in 1964; mother, Geraldine Page; appeared in "Nobody's Fool"; was married 1983-89; ran catering firm.
son:
Tony Torn. Actor; director. Born in 1965; mother, Geraldine Page; twin brother of Jonathan.
son:
Jonathan Torn. Born in 1965; mother Geraldine Page; twin brother of Anthony.
daughter:
Katie Torn. Born c. 1982; mother Amy Wright.
daughter:
Claire Torn. Born February 6, 1992; mother Amy Wright.
cousin:
Sissy Spacek. Actor. First cousin of Torn.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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