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Rip Torn Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (4)  | Trivia (35)  | Personal Quotes (18)  | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Born in Temple, Texas, USA
Died in Lakeville, Connecticut, USA  (Alzheimer's disease)
Birth NameElmore Rual Torn Jr.
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Rip Torn was born Elmore Rual Torn Jr. on February 6, 1931 in Temple, Texas, the son of Thelma Mary (Spacek) and Elmore Rudolph Torn, who was an agriculturalist and economist, credited with popularizing the custom of eating black-eyes peas on New Year's Day. "Rip" is a family name, taken by generations of Torn men and bestowed on Elmore by his father, who was also called "Rip." He was of German, Austrian, Bohemian, and Moravian descent. His mother was an elder sister of actress Sissy Spacek's father, Edwin Spacek.

Torn attended Texas A&M and the University of Texas, , where he joined Sigma Chi Fraternity. He majored in animal husbandry. Extremely naïf 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 continued to work in the New York theater despite his demanding TV and movie schedule as both an actor and director. He won two Obie awards for his work off-Broadway, for Distinguished Performance in Norman Mailer's "The Deer Park" (for the 1966-67 season), and for Distinguished Direction for "The Beard" (1967-68). He had 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 was constantly in demand as a character actor, in supporting, second lead and occasional lead roles. Arguably 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 were in drama, though he was adept at 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.

Torn was married to actress Ann Wedgeworth from 1956-61, whom he divorced to marry Geraldine Page. They remained married until her death in 1987. He was married to Amy Wright until his death. Torn helped his first 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.

Rip Torn died in on July 9, 2019 in Lakeville, Connecticut, aged 88.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Family (4)

Spouse Amy Wright (15 March 2004 - 9 July 2019)  (his death)  (2 children)
Geraldine Page (8 September 1963 - 13 June 1987)  (her death)  (3 children)
Ann Wedgeworth (15 January 1955 - 1961)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Children Tony Torn
John Torn
Angelica Page
Danae Torn
Parents Torn, Thelma Mary
Torn, Elmore Rudolph
Relatives Sissy Spacek (cousin)

Trivia (35)

Torn and his first wife had a daughter, Danae Torn. He and second wife Geraldine Page had a daughter and twin sons (Angelica Page, Tony Torn and John Torn). Although he and Page never divorced, their relationship deteriorated and Torn began a relationship with Amy Wright in 1976. Wright became his third wife, and had two daughters named Katie and Claire.
On March 14, 1997, it was reported that he 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.
First cousin of Sissy Spacek. First cousin once-removed of actresses Schuyler Fisk and Madison Fisk. Godfather of Clay Liford.
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 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.
In 1997, he appeared in Men in Black (1997) and Hercules (1997). In "Men in Black" he plays "Zed", head of MIB. Also in that film, Tommy Lee Jones' character, "Kay", is swallowed by a giant cockroach, and escapes by blowing the creature up from the inside. In "Hercules", Torn plays "Zeus", head of the Olympian 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. He attended Texas A & M College, graduating in 1952. Later, studied acting at the University of Texas, where he joined Sigma Chi Fraternity.
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.
On January 29, 2010, Torn was arrested in Salisbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut, after police found him passed out, holding a loaded gun, on the floor of a bank that had just been broken into. Torn was drunk and thought the bank was his home. He was charged with criminal trespass, carrying a firearm without a permit, carrying a firearm while intoxicated, burglary and criminal mischief. He later entered a plea of guilty and was given a suspended 2.5-year prison sentence, three years of probation during which time he was forbidden from carrying a firearm and agreed to be subject to random drug and alcohol testing.
Played three American presidents: Ulysses S. Grant, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon.
Torn was born to a father of German, Austrian, and Bohemian (Czech), descent, and a mother of Moravian (Czech) and German ancestry. He grew up in Taylor, Texas, a farming community 30 miles northeast of Austin. His parents are buried in Taylor's local cemetery. As a graduate of Taylor High School, home of the Taylor Ducks, he was a member of the inaugural group inducted into the Duck Hall of Fame. He attended the ceremonies personally where he visited with many former classmates.
Starred in two unrelated movies focusing on The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (1977) (playing Dwight Webb) and J. Edgar Hoover (1987) (playing Lyndon Johnson).
Best remembered by the public for his starring role as the producer - "Artie" on The Larry Sanders Show (1992).
Along with Garry Shandling and Jeffrey Tambor, Torn was one of the 3 actors to have appear in every episode of The Larry Sanders Show (1992).
At age 25, Torn moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1956, to become an actor.
Bore a slight resemblance to Richard Karn.
His uncle (on his father's side), Roland Sarrazin "Rip" Torn, passed away on August 13, 1999. He lived to be 82.
His birthplace, Temple, Texas, is 27 miles east of Kileen, Texas.
Graduated from Taylor High School, in Taylor, Texas, in 1948, at only 17 years of age.
Had appeared in the music video for the They Might Be Giants song "Can't Keep Johnny Down".
His aunt (on his father's side), Leonita O. Torn Cobb, died on June 11, 1993, almost 7 months before Torn's mother. The most coincidental thing is they were both 85.
His aunt (on his mother's side), Rose Mae Spacek Byrd, died on June 7, 2012. She lived almost to be 96.
Throughout his six decade career, he received 1 Academy Award nomination, 2 American Comedy Awards nominations, 9 Emmy Award nominations and 7 CableACE nominations. He won the Emmy Award, once, the American Comedy Award, once and the CableACE award, 3 times.
Upon his death, he was interred at Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery in Poughkeepsie, New York.
Rip Torn passed away on July 9, 2019, at age 88, and on the same day as Ross Perot (who was aged 89), and within six months of other people, who were also born in 1931, either 87 or 88: Ram Dass, Gene Wolfe, Toni Morrison and Rip Taylor.
His uncle (on his mother's side), Edwin Arnold "Ed" Spacek, Sr., died on January 7, 2001. He lived to be 90.
Best remembered for having taken Wallace Langham under his wing, when he was 27. Their friendship lasted for 27 years, until Torn's death in 2019.
Her daughter Angelica Page has a birthday, 11 days after her father.
After his guest-starring role on TripTank: #InsideRoy (2016), he retired from acting at age 85. He would die a few years later, on July, 2019, at age 88.
His mother, Thelma Mary Spacek Torn, died on December 28, 1993. She lived to be 85.
Before he was a successful actor, he was also a member of the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets.
Born on exactly the same date as Mamie Van Doren.

Personal Quotes (18)

[about being called volatile] 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 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.
Never think you're better than anyone else, but don't let anyone treat you like you're worse than they are.
I honor religion except when it gets into shedding blood.
I used to be friends with Miles Davis. He didn't like many folks. I lived across the street from him.
If you're lucky enough to have a pretty girl love you and share herself and sleep with you, make that your secret. The best way to spoil love is by talking to too many people about it.
If I could just get a piece of lemon, it'd be great.
You can never turn your back on the ocean.
Don't ever humiliate a man. If you're gonna have to dress him out, you take him aside and do it that way. That's the one thing I don't like about Hollywood: They go in for public humiliation. You shouldn't do that to a man.
Be your own politics, grow your own garden, and maybe you can help out more.
When I grew up people said, "You'll never be the man your dad was". And I said, "Gee, I hope not".
I've got two old Volvos, two old Subarus and an old Ford Ranger. If you've got an old car, you've gotta have at least several old cars, 'cause one's always gonna be in the garage.
Let the other guys do the crybaby stuff. Go for the laughs.
I think most actors are shy. I really do. The greatest actors can disappear. I had friends call me the Blend-In Man.
I've never hit anybody who hasn't clocked me two or three times.
Anything new is always considered the devil's tool.
Everybody says, "You impress me as a guy who never wanted to be a movie star". I say, "Everybody in the world wants to be a movie star".
There's always some kind of blacklist throughout history. But the difference is, in America they usually let you live.

Salary (1)

The United States Steel Hour (1953) $750

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