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Rip Torn, Emmy-Winning Actor of Stage and Screen, Dies at 88

Torn launched his career in the original Broadway productions of Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Sweet Bird of Youth.

Tony-nominated and Emmy-winning actor Rip Torn has died at the age of 88.
(© Joseph Marzullo / WENN)

Emmy-winning stage and screen actor Rip Torn died on Tuesday afternoon at his home in Lakeville, Connecticut, surrounded by his wife, Amy Wright, and daughters Katie Torn and Angelica Page. He was 88.

Torn is best known for his role as gruff producer Artie on HBO's The Larry Sanders Show, earning six Emmy nominations and winning the award in 1996. He was also nominated for an Academy Award in 1984 for his supporting performance as Marsh Turner in Cross Creek.

Torn made his Broadway debut in the original 1955 production of Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, taking over the lead role of Brick in 1956. In 1959 he joined the original Broadway cast of Williams's Sweet Bird of Youth as Tom Junior, earning a Tony nomination for his featured performance, and went on to take over the lead role of Chance Wayne from Paul Newman. The production also starred Geraldine Page, whom Torn married in 1963. In the 1989 TV adaptation of Sweet Bird of Youth, Torn took on the role of Tom's father, Boss Finley. He also graduated to the role of Big Daddy in a 1984 TV adaptation of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

His subsequent Broadway credits include Daughter of Silence, Strange Interlude, Blues for Mister Charlie, The Cuban Thing, Dance of Death, Look Away, The Glass Menagerie (opposite Maureen Stapleton, Paul Rudd, and Pamela Payton-Wright), Mixed Couples, Anna Christie, and The Young Man From Atlanta. Torn also appeared in (and directed) many off-Broadway productions throughout the 1960s and '70s.

Torn's many film credits also include The Cincinnati Kid (1965), Payday (1973), The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), Albert Brooks's Defending Your Life (1991), and Men in Black.

Following Geraldine Page's death in 1987, Torn married actress Amy Wright in 1989. In addition to Wright, Torn is survived by six children: his daughter Danae from his first marriage to actress Ann Wedgeworth; actress Angelica Page; as well as twin sons, Anthony and Jonathan, from his second marriage, and daughters Katie and Claire from his third marriage. He is also survived by his sister, Patricia Alexander, and four grandchildren.