Owner of an unmistakable voice and known for his rather short fuse caught behind and in front of the camera, the Oscar-nominated Rip Torn has sadly died. He was 88.
A talent that was seemingly game for a laugh, as well as playing it straight when need be, Rip Torn also received an Emmy nomination for his appearance in The Larry Sanders Show from 1992-98.
In regards to his big screen endeavours, Torn’s early career before finding laughs was handling rather serious roles. He worked alongside David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth, a dodgy record producer in Forty Shades of Blue, and was in line for Easy Rider before an altercation with Dennis Hopper led him to be replaced by Jack Nicholson.
The story that originally unfolded was that Torn pulled a knife on Hopper during production, whereas Torn said it was the other way around. Determined on setting the record straight, Torn took Hopper to court and won $475,000 in damages. Hollywood, eh?
For more mainstream audiences though, Torn will be forever associated with two comedic roles that frankly were showstoppers in their own right. Firstly there was top boss of MIB, Zed in Men in Black and grisly-faced former pro-Dodgeball player, Patches O’Houlihan in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. Frankly, if you’ve not said a quote from either of those films out loud while reading this, you need to slot one of them in for this evening’s viewing immediately.
Fiery but focused, stoic and side-splittingly hilarious when necessary. Rip Torn is survived by his wife Amy Wright and two daughters, Katie and Angelica.