Rip Torn was born Elmore Rual Torn, Jr. on February 6, 1931 in Temple, Texas. "Rip" is a family name, taken by generations of Torn men and bestowed on Elmore by his father, who was also called "Rip". Torn attended Texas A & M and the University of Texas, where he majored in animal husbandry. Extremely naive when he was young, Torn hitchhiked to Hollywood with the idea of becoming a movie star; he wanted to make enough money in order to buy a ranch. Success did not come overnight, as he had hoped, and Torn had to work many odd jobs while occasionally being cast in television roles. He made his feature film debut in Elia Kazan's Baby Doll (1956) in a small part.
Serious about learning his craft, he moved to New York City where he studied under Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio. Torn also studied dance with Martha Graham. His serious acting career began on the small screen, where he made a name for himself in the Golden Age of Television; between 1957 and 1960, he appeared regularly on such prestigious live shows as "Omnibus" (1952) and "Playhouse 90" (1956).
Torn made his Broadway debut in Kazan's staging of Tennessee Williams' "Sweet Bird of Youth" on March 10, 1959, in support of Paul Newman, Sidney Blackmer and Geraldine Page, who would become his second wife. The play was a hit, closing on January 30, 1960 after 375 performances. He won a 1960 Tony Award nomination as Best Featured Actor in a Play and a Theater World award for his role as "Tom, Jr.", a role he recreated in the 1962 film. (Torn also starred as "Boss Finley" in a later television adaptation of the play).
Torn earned a reputation as an actor's actor on stage, both Broadway and off-Broadway, as well as on screen. He continues to work in the New York theater despite his demanding TV and movie schedule as both an actor and director. He has won two Obie awards for his work off-Broadway, for Distinguished Performance in Norman Mailer's "The Deer Park" (for the 1966-1967 season), and for Distinguished Direction for "The Beard" (1967-1968). He has his own stage company, and directed his daughter Angelica Page(by Geraldine Page) in John Paul Alexander's "Strangers in the Land of Canaan" at the Actors Studio. Torn made his feature film directorial debut with The Telephone (1988).
He has constantly been in demand as a character actor, in supporting, second lead and occasional lead roles. His best performance on film came in Payday (1973), and he was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar for Cross Creek (1983). Most of Torn's roles have been in drama, though he is adept in comedy. His role in Albert Brooks' comedy Defending Your Life (1991) led to his being cast in "The Larry Sanders Show" (1992), on which he played talk show producer "Artie". Torn won six consecutive Emmy nominations for the role, winning once for Best Supporting Actor in a comedy series in 1996.
Rip Torn was married to actress Ann Wedgeworth from 1956 to 1961, whom he divorced to marry Geraldine Page. They remained married until her death in 1987. Torn helped his cousin, Oscar-winner Sissy Spacek, to make her way as an actress, seeing to it that she was accepted by the Lee Strasberg's Actors Studio and then the Lee Strasberg Institute.
|Geraldine Page||(1963 - 13 June 1987) (her death) 3 children|
|Ann Wedgeworth||(15 January 1955 - 1961) (divorced) 1 child|
|Amy Wright||(? - present) 2 children|
A rich, strident voice
Graduated from Texas A & M College in 1952.
He and Geraldine Page have a daughter and twin sons.
Reported that he has won a $475,000 defamation suit against Dennis Hopper. The lawsuit came about after remarks made by Hopper on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (1992) on 31 May 1994. [14 March 1997]
Cousin of Sissy Spacek.
Was nominated for Broadway's 1960 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Dramatic) for "Sweet Bird of Youth," a performance he recreated in the film version with the same title, Sweet Bird of Youth (1962).
Was a close friend of actor George Peppard.
Is the commissioner of the Extreme Dodgeball League on GSN (2005).
Godfather of Clay Liford.
Was a close friend from boyhood of actor Larry Blyden. As boys, friends would refer to the two as "Torn and Bleedin'," Bleiden being the original spelling of the latter's name.
Is a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.
In 1997, he appeared in Men in Black (1997) and Hercules (1997). In Men in Black (1997), he plays "Zed", the head of the MIB agency. Also in that film, Tommy Lee Jones's character, "Kay", is swallowed by a giant cockroach, and escapes by blowing the creature up from the inside. In Hercules (1997), he plays "Zeus", chief of the gods. In that film, Hercules is swallowed by the Hydra and escapes by cutting the creature's head off from inside.
Attended the Republican National Convention in New York in 2004.
Grew up in Texas.
Studied acting at the University of Texas.
Was the league commissioner of GSN's Extreme Dodgeball.
In 1970, a bullet was fired through the window of his home after he spoke out against the Vietnam War on "The Dick Cavett Show" (1968).
Served as a U.S. Army military police officer after college.
Mentioned in mini biography of Brenda Whitehead.
Accused of breaking into a Connecticut bank with a gun [January 30, 2010].
Has played three American presidents: Ulysses S. Grant, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon.
What do they say about all the guys that are tremendous actors? Don't they say they have a volatile temper and emotions? Yeah, sure they do! They're not saying they like a nice mild guy. Look at Sean Penn. [on being called volatile].
[on receiving his first Oscar nomination] People are finally realizing I'm one of the few actors who has never missed a performance. I've worked with broken legs, arms, ankles. I once passed a kidney stone during the opening night of a show.
|"The United States Steel Hour" (1953)||$750|
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