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Rip Torn, star of Men in Black, dies aged 88

Will Smith has paid tribute to his late co-star

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Gemma Strong
Online Digital News Director
10 July 2019
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Rip Torn, star of Men In Black, Dodgeball and TV's The Larry Sanders Show, has died at the age of 88. His representative confirmed that the actor passed away on Tuesday afternoon at his home, with his wife Amy Wright and daughters Katie Torn and Angelica Page by his side. No cause of death has been given. Rip's career spanned several decades, with work on both the stage and the screen. Tributes have poured in for the actor, with Will Smith – who starred with Rip in the 1997 hit Men In Black – sharing a photo of the pair together, with the caption: "R.I.P Rip." Alec Baldwin, who worked alongside Rip in 30 Rock, tweeted: "He was a deeply committed, phenomenal actor. See you down the road, Rip. You wonderful madman."

rip torn men in black© Photo: Rex

Rip Torn starred in the 1997 hit Men In Black with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones

Born Elmore Rual Torn, the star took on the name Rip as a boy, following in the tradition of his father and his uncle. He made his film debut in 1956 in an adaptation of Baby Doll, and within a few years was working as a respected film and TV actor. His career hit a dry spell in the 1970s, which he blamed on reports within the industry that he was difficult to work with – a reputation seemingly cemented when tension on the set of Easy Rider led to him being replaced by Jack Nicholson. “I wouldn’t say that I was blacklisted,” he told The Associated Press in 1984, “but the word got around that I was difficult and unreliable. Unreliable! In all my years in the theatre I have never missed a performance.” Nevertheless, he kept working on small projects in TV, film and theatre and in 1983 starred in Cross Creek, a role which brought him his only Oscar nomination, for best supporting actor. He received an Emmy Award late in his career, in 1996, for his comedy role in The Larry Sanders Show, playing television producer Artie.

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rip torn larry sanders show© Photo: Rex

He won an Emmy for his role in The Larry Sanders Show

Rip was married three times and was a father to six children. His first marriage to actress Ann Wedgeworth lasted from 1956 until 1961, and together the pair had a daughter together, Danae. In 1963, he married Geraldine Page, and they remained married until her death in 1987. Together they had a daughter, actress Angelica Page, and twin sons, Tony and Jon. Rip married actress Amy Wright in 1989, and they welcomed two children together, Katie and Claire Torn.

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