Rip Torn, a veteran actor who was an Emmy winner and an Oscar nominee, died Tuesday at the age of 88.
His publicist announced that Torn passed away peacefully at his home in Lakeville, Connecticut with his wife, the actress Amy Wright, and daughters Katie and Angelica his side. No cause of death was given.
In a six-decade-long career, Torn appeared in more than 80 feature films, dozens of television shows, and 10 Broadway plays (directing one).
Born Elmore Rual Torn in Temple, Texas, in 1931, he made his film debut in 1956 with an uncredited role in “Baby Doll.”
In the 1950s, Torn studied at the Actor’s Studio (which he later introduced to his cousin, Sissy Spacek) before making his Broadway debut in Tennessee Williams’ “Sweet Bird of Youth” as Tom, Jr., a role he would reprise for the feature film and TV movie adaptations.
He earned an Oscar nomination for playing a hard-drinking father opposite Mary Steenburgen in 1984’s “Cross Creek.” Later, he was a standout in film comedies like “Men in Black” and “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.”
But Torn was best known for his brilliant turn as Artie the producer on HBO’s “The Larry Sanders Show.” He received an Emmy nomination six times for the role, winning one in 1996.
He earned his final Emmy nod in 2008 for his work on “30 Rock.”
Throughout his career, Torn had a reputation for being volatile and combative. He notoriously hit Norman Mailer with a hammer on the set of 1970’s “Maidstone,” leading to a brawl that had to be broken up by other actors. The fight was captured by cameras and included in the finished movie.
Dennis Hopper publicly accused Torn on “The Tonight Show” of threatening him with a knife while making “Easy Rider.” Torn sued Hopper for defamation and won more than $900,00 in damages.
In 2010, he was arrested for breaking into a bank in Lakeville, Connecticut, and later charged with carrying a firearm without a permit and carrying a firearm while intoxicated. He eventually received a suspended sentence and probation.
Torn was married three times: to Ann Wedgeworth from 1955 to 1961, to Geraldine Page from 1963 until her death in 1987, and to Amy Wright from 1989 until his death.
He is survived by Wright, five children, his sister, and four grandchildren.
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