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Elmore "Rip" Torn Jr. '52 July 11, 2019 7:38 AM updated: July 11, 2019 7:43 AM

Rip Torn

Overview (4)
Born February 6, 1931 in Temple, Texas, USA
Died July 9, 2019 in Lakeville, Connecticut, USA
Birth Name Elmore Rual Torn Jr.
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)
Rip Torn was born Elmore Rual Torn, Jr. on February 6, 1931 in Temple, Texas, the son of Thelma Mary (Spacek) and Elmore Rudolph Torn, who was an agriculturalist and economist, credited with popularizing the custom of eating black-eyes peas on New Year's Day. "Rip" is a family name, taken by generations of Torn men and bestowed on Elmore by his father, who was also called "Rip". He is of German, Austrian, Bohemian, and Moravian descent.

Torn attended Texas A & M and the University of Texas, where he majored in animal husbandry. Extremely naïf when he was young, Torn hitchhiked to Hollywood with the idea of becoming a movie star; he wanted to make enough money in order to buy a ranch. Success did not come overnight, as he had hoped, and Torn had to work many odd jobs while occasionally being cast in television roles. He made his feature film debut in Elia Kazan's Baby Doll (1956) in a small part.

Serious about learning his craft, he moved to New York City where he studied under Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio. Torn also studied dance with Martha Graham. His serious acting career began on the small screen, where he made a name for himself in the Golden Age of Television; between 1957 and 1960, he appeared regularly on such prestigious live shows as Omnibus (1952) and Playhouse 90 (1956).

Torn made his Broadway debut in Kazan's staging of Tennessee Williams' "Sweet Bird of Youth" on March 10, 1959, in support of Paul Newman, Sidney Blackmer and Geraldine Page, who would become his second wife. The play was a hit, closing on January 30, 1960 after 375 performances. He won a 1960 Tony Award nomination as Best Featured Actor in a Play and a Theater World award for his role as "Tom, Jr.", a role he recreated in the 1962 film. (Torn also starred as "Boss Finley" in a later television adaptation of the play).

Torn earned a reputation as an actor's actor on stage, both Broadway and off-Broadway, as well as on screen. He continues to work in the New York theater despite his demanding TV and movie schedule as both an actor and director. He has won two Obie awards for his work off-Broadway, for Distinguished Performance in Norman Mailer's "The Deer Park" (for the 1966-1967 season), and for Distinguished Direction for "The Beard" (1967-1968). He has his own stage company, and directed his daughter Angelica Page(by Geraldine Page) in John Paul Alexander's "Strangers in the Land of Canaan" at the Actors Studio. Torn made his feature film directorial debut with The Telephone (1988).

He has constantly been in demand as a character actor, in supporting, second lead and occasional lead roles. His best performance on film came in Payday (1973), and he was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar for Cross Creek (1983). Most of Torn's roles have been in drama, though he is adept in comedy. His role in Albert Brooks' comedy Defending Your Life (1991) led to his being cast in The Larry Sanders Show (1992), on which he played talk show producer "Artie". Torn won six consecutive Emmy nominations for the role, winning once for Best Supporting Actor in a comedy series in 1996.

Rip Torn was married to actress Ann Wedgeworth from 1956 to 1961, whom he divorced to marry Geraldine Page. They remained married until her death in 1987. Torn helped his cousin, Oscar-winner Sissy Spacek, to make her way as an actress, seeing to it that she was accepted by the Lee Strasberg's Actors Studio and then the Lee Strasberg Institute.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Spouse (3)
Amy Wright (1989 - 9 July 2019) ( his death) ( 2 children)
Geraldine Page (8 September 1963 - 13 June 1987) ( her death) ( 3 children)
Ann Wedgeworth (15 January 1955 - 1961) ( divorced) ( 1 child)

Trade Mark (1)
A rich, strident voice

Trivia (24)
Graduated from Texas A & M College in 1952.
He and Geraldine Page have a daughter and twin sons.
On March 14, 1997, it was reported that he won a $475,000 defamation suit against Dennis Hopper. The lawsuit came about after remarks made by Hopper on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1992) on 31 May 1994.
Cousin of Sissy Spacek.
First cousin once removed of actresses Schuyler Fisk and Madison Fisk.
Was nominated for Broadway's 1960 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Dramatic) for "Sweet Bird of Youth," a performance he recreated in the film version with the same title, Sweet Bird of Youth (1962).
Godfather of Clay Liford.
Was a close friend from boyhood of actor Larry Blyden. As boys, friends would refer to the two as "Torn and Bleedin'," Bleiden being the original spelling of the latter's name.
Is a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.
In 1997 he appeared in Men in Black (1997) and Hercules (1997). In "Men in Black" he plays "Zed", the head of the MIB agency. Also in that film, Tommy Lee Jones' character, "Kay", is swallowed by a giant cockroach, and escapes by blowing the creature up from the inside. In "Hercules" he plays "Zeus", chief of the gods. In that film, Hercules is swallowed by the Hydra and escapes by cutting the creature's head off from inside.
Attended the Republican National Convention in New York in 2004.
Grew up in Texas.
Studied acting at the University of Texas.
Father of Tony Torn, John Torn, Angelica Page and Danae Torn.
Was the league commissioner of GSN's Extreme Dodgeball.
In 1970 a bullet was fired through the window of his home after he spoke out against the Vietnam War on The Dick Cavett Show (1968).
Served as a U.S. Army military police officer after college.
Although he and Geraldine Page never got divorced, their relationship was already over in the mid-'70s. Torn began a relationship with his third wife Amy Wright in 1976.
Mentioned in mini biography of Brenda Whitehead.
On January 29, 2010, he was arrested in Salisbury, CT, after police found him passed out, holding a loaded gun, on the floor of a bank that had just been broken into. Torn was drunk and thought the bank was his home. He was charged with criminal trespass, carrying a firearm without a permit, carrying a firearm while intoxicated, burglary and criminal mischief. He later pleaded guilty and was given a suspended 2.5-year prison sentence, three years of probation during which time he was forbidden from carrying a firearm and agreed to be subject to random drug and alcohol testing.
Has played three American presidents: Ulysses S. Grant, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon.
His father was of one half German, one quarter Austrian, and one quarter Bohemian (Czech), descent. His mother was of three-quarters Moravian (Czech) and one quarter German ancestry.
Although he was born in Temple, TX, Torn grew up in Taylor, TX, a small farming community 30 Miles NE of Austin. His parents are buried in the local cemetery. As a graduate of Taylor High School, home of the Taylor Ducks, he was a member of the inaugural group inducted into the Duck Hall of Fame. He attended the ceremonies personally where he visited with many former classmates.
Starred in two unrelated movies focusing on J. Edgar Hoover: The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (playing Dwight Webb) and J. Edgar Hoover (playing Lyndon Johnson).

Personal Quotes (18)
[about being called volatile] What do they say about all the guys that are tremendous actors? Don't they say they have a volatile temper and emotions? Yeah, sure they do! They're not saying they like a nice, mild guy. Look at Sean Penn.
[on receiving his first Oscar nomination] People are finally realizing I'm one of the few actors who has never missed a performance. I've worked with broken legs, arms, ankles. I once passed a kidney stone during the opening night of a show.
Never think you're better than anyone else, but don't let anyone treat you like you're worse than they are.
I honor religion except when it gets into shedding blood.
I used to be friends with Miles Davis. He didn't like many folks. I lived across the street from him.
If you're lucky enough to have a pretty girl love you and share herself and sleep with you, make that your secret. The best way to spoil love is by talking to too many people about it.
If I could just get a piece of lemon, it'd be great.
You can never turn your back on the ocean.
Don't ever humiliate a man. If you're gonna have to dress him out, you take him aside and do it that way. That's the one thing I don't like about Hollywood: They go in for public humiliation. You shouldn't do that to a man.
Be your own politics, grow your own garden, and maybe you can help out more.
When I grew up people said, "You'll never be the man your dad was". And I said, "Gee, I hope not".
I've got two old Volvos, two old Subarus and an old Ford Ranger. If you've got an old car, you've gotta have at least several old cars, 'cause one's always gonna be in the garage.
Let the other guys do the crybaby stuff. Go for the laughs.
I think most actors are shy. I really do. The greatest actors can disappear. I had friends call me the Blend-In Man.
I've never hit anybody who hasn't clocked me two or three times.
Anything new is always considered the devil's tool.
Everybody says, "You impress me as a guy who never wanted to be a movie star". I say, "Everybody in the world wants to be a movie star".
There's always some kind of blacklist throughout history. But the difference is, in America they usually let you live.

Salary (1)
The United States Steel Hour (1953) $750

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