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  Farewell Rip Torn [read more]
  Legendary character actor and eccentric dies aged 88
  Rip Torn, star of stage and screen and participant in some of the strangest stories in Hollywood, has died, it has been announced. Real name Elmore Torn, he was born into a well-off agricultural family but decided he wanted to be an actor, so moved to Los Angeles and began to get small roles in television until his film debut in 1956's Baby Doll. Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird of Youth was his stage breakthrough, which he repeated on film, and other films of the sixties included King of Kings (as Judas), The Cincinatti Kid, Francis Ford Coppola's debut You're a Big Boy Now, Beach Red, Norman Mailer's Beyond the Law and Coming Apart.

Torn would notoriously try to murder Mailer (for real) on camera in their next collaboration, Maidstone, and in the seventies he showed up in Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer, blaxploitation effort Slaughter, country music drama Payday (many consider this his finest film performance), opposite David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Birch Interval, Nasty Habits, Coma and Heartland. In the eighties, there was One Trick Pony with Paul Simon, A Stranger is Watching, The Beastmaster (as the baddie), Airplane II, Songwriter, Cross Creek (for which he had his sole Oscar nomination), City Heat and Extreme Prejudice.

The nineties saw him secure a role in his most celebrated TV show, The Larry Sanders Show for which he won an Emmy as Larry's salty dog-loving producer, and he also appeared as the boss in Men in Black. Other roles included Defending Your Life, Robocop 3, Canadian Bacon, Disney's Hercules (as Zeus), The Insider, and into the final phase of his career, Wonder Boys, apoplectic in Freddie Got Fingered, Dodgeball, Marie Antoinette and a recurring role on sitcom 30 Rock. Among his extracurricular exploits, Dennis Hopper said Torn pulled a knife on him which got Torn fired from Easy Rider (and Hopper was sued by Torn for repeating the anecdote on a chatshow), and he was arrested in 2010 for trying to break into a bank under the belief, while drunk, that it was his own home. An electrifying performer, and quite a character.
  Graeme Clark [10 Jul 2019 at 10:17]

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