Rip Torn, the hell-raising Texas-born actor who in real life was almost as colourful as the outsize characters he played in a 60-year TV and movie career, died Tuesday at his home in Lakeville, Connecticut, his publicist said. He was 88.
No cause of death was given.
Torn — which was his real name — specialised in playing cantankerous, anti-authoritarian authority figures like Artie, the devious, hard-drinking producer of “The Larry Sanders Show” on the HBO series of the same name, and Agent Zed, the gruff, world-weary head of the secretive, alien-hunting agents in the early “Men in Black” movies.
Torn was nominated for nine Emmy awards and won for supporting actor in a comedy series for his portrayal of Artie in “The Larry Sanders Show”. He was nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actor for playing the hard-drinking father who meets a tragic end in the 1984 drama “Cross Creek.” He was nominated for a Tony Award for his role as the sadistic son in the 1962 Broadway production of Tennessee Williams’ play “Sweet Bird of Youth.”
“I’ll miss you, Rip, you were a true original,” the actor Albert Brooks, Torn’s co-star in the 1991 movie “Defending Your Life,” said on Twitter.