Rip Torn was an American actor.
After graduating from the University of Texas, where he studied drama, he served in the Army for two years and then moved to New York to study at the Actors Studio.
His first two roles on Broadway were in Tennessee Williams plays directed by Elia Kazan. In 1956 he took over the lead male role, Brick, in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof towards the end of its run. Three years later he was in the original cast of Sweet Bird of Youth, a role which garnered him a Tony Award nomination.
Torn first received recognition in television on anthology shows such as The United States Steel Hour, Kraft Theatre, and Playhouse 90.
His other television credits include Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Untouchables, Route 66, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Bonanza, Mannix, Columbo, The John Larroquette Show, Chicago Hope, Will & Grace, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Torn played Richard Nixon in the 1979 mini-series Blind Ambition, and General Ulysses S. Grant in the 1982 mini-series The Blue and the Gray.
His most famous television role was that of Artie, the producer, on The Larry Sanders Show, for which he was nominated for six Emmy Awards, winning in 1996. Torn’s role as the afterlife defense attorney opposite Albert Brooks in 1991’s Defending Your Life got Garry Shandling’s attention, and led to Torn being cast in the series.
In 2007 and 2008, he made five guest appearances on 30 Rock as the fictional Chief Executive Officer of General Electric, Don Geiss. He was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.
His film work includes The Cincinnati Kid (with Steve McQueen), The Man who Fell to Earth (with David Bowie), Coma (with Michael Douglas), The Seduction of Joe Tynan (with Alan Alda and Meryl Streep), One Trick Pony (with Paul Simon), Jinxed! (with Bette Midler), and The Insider (with Al Pacino). Torn played Agent Zed in Men in Black (with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones), and its 2002 sequel.
Torn was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his part as Marsh Turner in Cross Creek (1984).
Torn died July 9, 2019, in Lakeville, Connecticut. He was 88.