RIP TORN Biography - Actors and Actresses


Biography » actors and actresses » rip torn


Name: Rip Torn                                                                             
Birth name: Elmore Rual Torn, Jr.                                                         
Born: 6 February 1931 Temple, Texas, U.S.                                                 
Rip Torn (born February 6, 1931) is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning     
American television and film actor, who is perhaps best known for his role as             
Artie on the HBO comedy series The Larry Sanders Show.                                     
Torn was born Elmore Rual Torn, Jr. in Temple, Texas, the son of Thelma Mary (nee         
Spacek) and Elmore Rual Torn, an agriculturalist and economist. Being                     
given the name "Rip" is a family tradition of men in the Torn family for several           
generations. It was given to him by his father, who was also called Rip. He               
graduated from Texas A & M University in 1952. Torn introduced his cousin, the             
Oscar-winning actress Sissy Spacek, to the entertainment business and she was             
able to enroll in Lee Strasberg's Actors Studio and then the Lee Strasberg                 
Institute in New York.                                                                     
Following graduation from university, Torn relocated from his native Texas to             
give Hollywood a shot, making his debut in the 1956 film Baby Doll. Realizing             
that the way to success was a hard one, Torn headed to New York where he studied           
at the Actors Studio under Lee Strasberg and started becoming a prolific stage             
actor, appearing in the original cast of Tennessee Williams' play Sweet Bird of           
Youth, and reprising the role in the film and television adaptations. One of his           
earliest roles was in the film Pork Chop Hill, playing the brother-in-law of               
Gregory Peck's character.                                                                 
He has been a distinctive character actor in numerous films since then, often             
showing up well in roles like the rich, sleazy New Orleans blackmailer Slade               
opposite Steve McQueen and Karl Malden in 1965's The Cincinnati Kid or the gruff           
boss in Men in Black.                                                                     
The part of lawyer George Hanson in the Peter Fonda-Dennis Hopper road movie               
Easy Rider was written for Torn by Terry Southern (who was a close friend) but             
according to Southern's biographer Lee Hill, Torn withdrew from the project               
after he and co-director Dennis Hopper got into a bitter argument in a New York           
restaurant, ending with Hopper pulling a knife on Torn. As a result, Torn had             
to be replaced by Jack Nicholson, whose appearance in the film catapulted him to           
In 1972 he won rave reviews for his portrayal of a country & western singer in             
the cult film Payday. He received what many felt was a long-overdue Academy               
Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his role in the 1983 film Cross             
In 1988, he made an unsuccessful venture into directing with the offbeat comedy           
The Telephone, starring Whoopi Goldberg. The screenplay was written by Terry               
Southern and Harry Nilsson and the film was produced by their company Hawkeye.             
The story, which focussed on an unhinged, out-of-work actor, had been written             
with Robin Williams in mind. After he turned it down, Goldberg expressed a                 
strong interest, but when production began Torn reportedly had to contend with             
Goldberg constantly digressing and improvising, and he had to plead with her to           
perform takes that stuck to the script. Goldberg was backed by the studio, who             
also allowed her to replace Torn's chosen DOP, veteran cinematographer John               
Alonzo, with her then husband. As a result of the power struggle, Torn, Southern           
and Nilsson cut their own version of the film, using the takes that adhered to             
the script, and this was screened at the Sundance Film Festival, but the studio           
put together a rival version using other takes and it was poorly reviewed when             
it premiered in January 1988. In 1990, he played ultra-hawkish Colonel Fargo               
in By Dawn's Early Light, which despite a modest budget is replete with major             
name actors from the era when it was filmed.                                               
For his role as talk show producer and TV veteran Artie in The Larry Sanders               
Show, Torn received six consecutive Emmy award nominations as Best Supporting             
Actor in a Comedy Series and won the award once, in 1996. He has since appeared           
in many comedic roles in films such as Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story,                   
Canadian Bacon and Rolling Kansas, as well as dramatic roles in films such as             
The Insider and Marie Antoinette. Torn is also known for his voice work, and has           
done voice-overs for many animated films, the most notable being Hercules. He             
lent his voice to the Jerry Seinfeld film Bee Movie. He has also made guest               
appearances on 30 Rock. He will next be seen in a starring role in Turn the               
River costarring Famke Janssen.                                                           
Rip Torn has played in several TV shows and movies over the years. He appeared             
on television as early as 1956 (where he played the part of a dentist in Baby             
Doll, as has continued to play a variety of roles in recent movies and                     
television shows, including the movies; Men in Black, Marie Antoinette, and the           
award winning NBC show, 30 Rock. Torn appeared in an early "reality show", ABC's           
The American Sportsman hosted by Grits Gresham, in which celebrities go to                 
exotic places to hunt, to fish, or to shoot.