American actor Rip Torn, famous for his roles in Men in Black and The Larry Sanders Show has passed away at the age of 88.
With a career spanning seven decades, he won an Emmy in 1996 for playing Artie, Sanders’ irascible producer, in Garry Shandling’s sitcom.
The 1983 drama Cross Creek gave him his sole Oscar nomination.
Co-star Will Smith who appeared with Torn in Men in Black and the first sequel paid tribute by uploading a photo of them together on Instagram.
Neil Gaiman, fantasy writer said Torn had been the inspiration for the Mr Wednesday character in his novel American Gods.
Seth MacFarlane, Family Guy creator paid tribute to Torn’s work in The Larry Sanders Show and as Bob Diamond in 1991 comedy Defending Your Life.
Co-star Alec Baldwin who worked with Tone on TV comedy 30 Rock said that he was a “deeply committed, phenomenal actor” and a “wonderful madman”.
Born Elmore Rual Torn Jr. in Texas in 1931, he moved to New York in the 1950s to study at the legendary Actors Studio in New York.
Torn earned a Tony nomination for 1960, playing the menacing Tom Finley Jr. in Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth, a role he reprised in the 1962 film version.
King of Kings, The Cincinnati Kid and The Man Who Fell to Earth are some of the films he acted in.
Torn played Zed in the first two Men in Black films and Patches O’Houlihan in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.
“If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!” his character memorably growled in that 2004 comedy.
Torn was also know for his volatile nature and some colourful altercations that saw him labelled a hellraiser.
A fall out with Dennis Hopper in 1967 led to him losing the role Jack Nicholson eventually played in the counterculture classic Easy Rider.
Torn attacked his friend Norman Mailer with a hammer in the 1970 film Maidstone while the cameras were still rolling.
He also drunkenly broke into a bank in Connecticut while carrying a loaded gun in 2010.
Torn is survived by his third wife, actress Amy Wright, with whom he had two children.
He was previously married to the actress Geraldine Page, with whom he had three children, and Ann Wedgeworth, with whom he also had a child. -/TISG