Elmore Rual Torn Jr., better known as Rip Torn, is an American actor who popularly portrayed the character of ‘Artie’ in the sitcom ‘The Larry Sanders Show’. He was nominated at the Emmy Awards six consecutive times and ended up winning the prestigious award once in 1996. He was also nominated at the Academy Awards in the Best Supporting Actor category after impressing the critics with his character of ‘Marsh Turner’ in the film ‘Cross Creek’. Even though neither of his parents was directly involved in the show business, his mother was an aunt of actress Sissy Spacek. Rip Torn developed an interest in acting as a teenager and studied acting at the University of Texas. He began his career playing minor roles in films and television shows before getting more substantial roles. In the later years of his career, he narrated the horror anthology series titled ‘Ghost Stories’ on television for two years. He has also done voice acting in popular video games like ‘God of War III,’ for which he won the NAVGTR Award.
Childhood & Early Life
Rip Torn was born on February 6, 1931, in Temple, Texas, to Thelma Mary Spacek and Elmore Rual "Tiger" Torn Sr., an agriculturalist and an economist by profession.
He graduated from the University of Texas and was a member of the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets.
Torn joined the US Army after his graduation. He was posted in the Military Police division in the US Army where he faced regular problems with his senior officers on disciplinary grounds.
Continue Reading Below
You May Like
Rip Torn has appeared in many Broadway productions in his career. At the beginning of his career, he appeared in popular plays like ‘Sweet Bird of Youth,’ and won the Theater World Award.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Torn featured in plays like ‘Strange Interlude’, ‘Blues for Mister Charlie’, ‘Dance of Death’, and ‘The Glass Menagerie’. He also directed a few Broadway plays in his career.
Besides the Broadway, he has appeared in other theater productions as well. Some of his notable performances were in plays like ‘Desire Under the Elms’ and ‘The Deer Park’. He has performed at the Lucille Lortel Theater and The Public Theater in New York City.
Film & Television Career
Rip Torn made his silver screen debut in the 1956 film ‘Baby Doll’ with a small role of a dentist. He later appeared in the American-Korean war film ‘Pork Chop Hill’ as ‘Lt. Walter B. Russell’.
His debut on television was in the anthology series ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’. He appeared twice on the show playing different characters in 1957 and 1961.
In the 1960s, Torn appeared in a few popular films like ‘King of Kings’ as ‘Judas Iscariot’, ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’ as ‘Thomas J. Finley, Jr.’, ‘The Cincinnati Kid’, and ‘One Spy Too Many’.
Rip Torn appeared in the 1972 drama film ‘Payday’ as ‘Maury Dann,’ and later in 1976, he portrayed the character of ‘Dr. Nathan Bryce’ in the science fiction film ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’.
Torn continued playing important roles over the years and established his credentials as a character actor. He portrayed versatile roles in films as well as on television.
In 1982, he appeared in the miniseries ‘Blind Ambition’ as the politician and the 37th president of America, ‘Richard Nixon’, and in the series ‘The Blue and the Gray’ as the 18th president of America, ‘Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’.
In the 1983 film ‘Cross Creek’, Torn appeared alongside actress Mary Steenburgen, who portrayed the character of the American author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. The film was a big hit among the critics and received four nominations at the Academy Awards.
In the next decade and a half, Rip Torn appeared in many supporting roles before making an appearance in the box office hit film ‘Men in Black’. In this action-packed sci-fi film, Torn portrayed the character of ‘Zed’, the head of an alien control organization, and received a nomination at the Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture.
In the 1990s, Torn started playing the role of ‘Artie’ in the comedy show ‘The Larry Sanders Show’. He portrayed the character of a producer in the show for six years and was nominated at the Emmy Awards numerous times.
Rip Torn was one of the main reasons the 1983 film ‘Cross Creek’ was so well-received by the critics. The film got four nominations at the Academy Awards with Torn receiving one in the Best Supporting Actor category. His performance in the film was lauded by the audiences and the critics alike.
One of the most iconic characters in American television sitcoms, ‘Producer Artie,’ was portrayed by Rip Torn in ‘The Larry Sanders Show’ between 1992 and 1998. He was nominated for the Emmy Award six times for his performance, and eventually won the prestigious award in 1996. He also won two CableACE Awards and two nominations at the American Comedy Awards.
Family & Personal Life
Rip Torn married actress Ann Wedgeworth on 15 January 1955 and divorced her in 1961. The couple has a child together. Later, he married another actress, Geraldine Page, in 1963, and had three children. She died in 1987.
In 1989, Rip Torn married for the third time. His current wife is actress Amy Wright, with whom he has two children.