Rip Torn (Elmore Rual “Rip” Torn Jr), the Emmy Award-winning actor, best known for his roles in Men in Black and HBO’s sitcom The Larry Sanders Show, died on Tuesday at 88.
His publicist Rick Miramontez said Rip Torn died at his home in Lakeville, Connecticut, with his family by his side, CNN reported.
Rip Torn made his film debut, playing a minor role in Elia Kazan’s Baby Doll (1956).
Torn made his Broadway debut in Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), playing the role of Tom Finley Jr. He received a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Play in 1960 for his his role as Tom Finley.
He reprised his role as Tom Finley in the 1962 film adaptation of Sweet Birth of Youth.
He appeared as Judas Iscariot in King of Kings (1961) and played Dr. Nathan Bryce in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976). He played Bud Kruger in Airplane II: The Sequel (1982).
He received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in 1984 for his role as Mash Turner in Cross Creek (1983).
He appeared as Sheriff Hank Pearson in Extreme Prejudice (1987), as OCP CEO in Robocop 3 (1993), Patches O’Houlihan in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004), and Alan James in Forty Shades of Blue (2005).
He is probably best known for his role as Sanders’ ill-tempered producer Artie in Gary Shandling’s The Larry Sanders Show on HBO.
Rip Torn received six Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as Artie in The Larry Sanders Show. He won Outstanding Supporting Actor in A Comedy Series also for his role as Artie in 1996.
He played the role of the head of MIB Chief Zed in Men in Black I (1997) and II (2002), starring alongside Will Smith, who played Agent J (James Darrell “Jay” Edwards III).
Torn is survived by his wife Amy Wright, six children, and four grandchildren.
Following news of his death several actors, including Will Smith, and movie producers such as Seth McFarlane, posted tributes on Twitter.
I met Rip Torn once, in 1990, on a movie location in NC. "You write science fiction?" he said, teeth in a scary grin. "I was in BEASTMASTER." Then he shook my hand and I ceased to exist for him. That was the start of Mr Wednesday in American Gods. RIP Rip.https://t.co/Fp7fVKtrDp
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) July 10, 2019
Rip Torn always made me laugh. Artie and Bob Diamond were two utterly unforgettable characters.
— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) July 10, 2019
Remembering his best lines from movies
Rip Torn’s career in theater, TV, and film, spanned about 60 years, with nearly 200 theater, TV and film credits to his name.
His publicist Miramontez recalled him once saying “Play drama as comedy and comedy as drama.” Torn played his roles true to his own maxim, as some of his best movie and TV show lines reveal:
“That’s what we’re here for. To kill. The rest is all crap!” (Gunnery Sgt. Ben Honeywell, Beach Red, 1967)
“If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!” (Patches O’Houlihan in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, 2004)
“My sweet dick, it’s magic!” (Patches O’Houlihan in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, 2004)
“Holy hell, son, you’re about as useful as a c**k-flavored lollipop.” (Patches O’Houlihan in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, 2004)
“Is it necessary for me to drink my own urine? No, but I do it anyway because it’s sterile and I like the taste.” (Patches O’Houlihan in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, 2004)
“Will someone catch a g*d**mn ball! It’s like watching a bunch of retards trying to f**k a doorknob out there.” (Patches O’Houlihan in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, 2004)
“Gentlemen, congratulations. You’re everything we’ve come to expect from years of government training. Now please step this way, as we provide you with our final test: an eye exam…” (Agent Zed in Men in Black, 1990)
“You’ll dress only in attire specially sanctioned by MIB special services. You’ll conform to the identity we give you, eat where we tell you, live where we tell you. From now on you’ll have no identifying marks of any kind. You’ll not stand out in any way. Your entire image is crafted to leave no lasting memory with anyone you encounter. You’re a rumor, recognizable only as deja vu and dismissed just as quickly. You don’t exist; you were never even born. Anonymity is your name. Silence your native tongue. You’re no longer part of the System. You’re above the System. Over it. Beyond it… We are the Men in Black. (Agent Zed in Men in Black, 1990)
“I speak fluent bulls**t.” (Artie in The Larry Sanders Show (1992-1998)
Artie: Your fly is undone.
Larry: Oh, thanks.
Artie: Just doing my job.
Larry: It’s your job to look at my crotch?
Artie: I consider it one of my perks. (Artie in The Larry Sanders Show, 1992-1998)
“You’ll have to forgive Hank. His heart’s in the right place but he keeps his brain in a box at home.” (Artie in The Larry Sanders Show, 1992-1998)
“If you’re watching this, you are an executive of the General Electric Corporation, and the unthinkable has happened. Capitalism is ending, either because of the Soviets or something ridiculous, like a woman President. I’m speaking to you from the year 1987, but the message is timeless: Avoid The Noid!” (Don Geiss in 30 Rock, Season 3, Episode 12).
Rip Torn certainly made his mark in film and television. He will surely be missed.