For all your cult film, tv, cartoon, comic and video game needs

Rip Torn

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Alex Berliner/BEI/BEI/Shutterstock (561061q) Rip Torn 'YOURS, MINE AND OURS' FILM PREMIERE, LOS ANGELES, AMERICA - 20 NOV 2005

Remembering Rip Torn – The Chief of Men in Black

Born Elmore Rual Torn Jr on February 6th 1931 to parents Elmore Rual Torn Sr. and Thelma Mary Torn (nee Spacek) in Temple, Texas USA.  His Mother was Aunt to the actress Sissy Spacek.  The nickname “Rip” is a family tradition among men in the Torn family, a family of German, Austrian and Czech/Moravian ancestry.

After graduating from the University of Texas, where he studied acting, he served in the Military Police in the United States Army.

Torn made his debut in Hollywood in the 1956 movie Baby Doll.  He then studied at the Actors Studio in New York and became a prolific stage actor.  He appeared in the original cast of the Tennessee Williams’ play Sweet Bird of Youth and reprised the role in both film and television adaptations.  It was at the Actors Studio that he helped his cousin Sissy enrol to become a leading lady in the entertainment business.

All through the 60’s, Torn played various roles in television whilst also having an illustrious film career.  Torn co-starred in Pork Chop Hill alongside Gregory Peck, he had roles in various late 50’s television series such as The Restless Gun, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and had an uncredited role in A face in The Crowd.  1961 saw him play Judas is King of Kings, in 1965 he played Slade in The Cincinnati Kid.  The part of Hanson in Easy Rider was written for Torn but he withdrew from the project before it started after he had a disagreement with the co-director, Dennis Hopper at a New York restaurant.

During the 70’s Torn’s career was starting to attract award nominations and rave reviews, his performance in Payday and Jinxed! attracted critical acclaim. he played an airline executive in Airplane II, a Sherriff in Flashpoint and he was nominated for a CableACE Award for his portrayal of Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1984.

In 1988, Torn debuted as a director with the film The Telephone.  Written with Robin Williams in mind, he turned it down and Whoopi Goldberg expressed a strong interest.  During initial production, Torn had to repeatedly request to Goldberg that she stick to the script as she started to digress and improvise.  A dispute with the studio, who backed Goldberg, generated a Torn version and a Studio version, which ended in poor reviews for both versions.

The 90’s saw Torn in more television and film roles, Columbo, By Dawn’s Early Light, Defending Your Life, Where the Rivers Flow North, RoboCop 3, Down Periscope.

His most well-known recent roles are that of Zed in the Men in Black series of films, Patches O’Houlihan in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story and Zeus in Disney’s Hercules.

Torn’s stage career was just as prolific as his screen career, he appeared in ten Broadway productions and directed one and gained a Theatre World award and a Tony nomination. His Off-Broadway career flourished, and he won an Obie Award for a distinguished performance in 1967 in the play The Deer Park.

Controversy blotted some of Torn’s career with on-set difficulties, whilst filming Maidstone, Torn attacked the director, and star, Norman Mailer with a hammer, they fought to the ground and the fight was broken up by cast and crew, the camera was rolling at the time and the fight scene, although edited, was included in the film.  Torn was reportedly outraged by Mailer’s direction.

In 1994, he filed for damages againt Dennis Hopper who stated in an interview that Torn had pulled a knife on him during an argument on-set during filming of Easy Rider.  Hopper lost the case, and the appeal and was ordered to pay $475,000 compensatory damages and again when the appeal failed.

Torn had legal troubles in 2010 when he drunkenly broke into a Bancorp office in his resident town of Lakeville thinking it was his home.  He was charged with various charges and released on $100,000 bail.  As a condition of his release, he had to be evaluated for substance abuse and at his trial he was denied special probation and was given a suspended jail sentence and three years’ probation for criminal trespass, criminal mischief and possession of a firearm.

Torn was married three times, first to Ann Wedgeworth from 1956 to 1961, they had a daughter Danae Torn.  In 1963 he married the actress Geraldine Page until her death in 1987, they had a daughter, actress Angelica Page, twin sons Tony and Jon (tony and actor, Jon an associate professor of Electronic Media.  And in 1989 he married actress Amy Wright and they had two girls, Katie and Claire Torn.

Rip Torn died at his home in Lakeville, Connecticut on July 9th 2019, he was 88.

Related Posts
Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (1999)

Based on Marilyn Sadler and Roger Bollen's book of the same name, Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century was directed by Kenneth Johnson and set in the year 2049. It Read more


Originally running between 1977-1979 for 108 episodes, Yatterman succeeded Time Bokan and followed what happened after fragments of a mysterious stone known as the Skull Stone are scattered across the Read more

Yakuza Apocalypse (2015)

Internationally renowned director Takashi Miike (ICHI THE KILLER, AUDITION, 13 ASSASSINS, HARA-KIRI: DEATH OF A SAMURAI 3D,ACE ATTORNEY, FOR LOVE’S SAKE, LESSON OF THE EVIL) is back with the action fantasy Read more

Welcome to Paradox

Debuting in 1998 and running for thirteen episodes, Welcome to Paradox was an anthology show where all the stories took place in the fictional future city of Betaville although the Read more

The Wizard

Created by Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz and Paul B. Radin, The Wizard starred David Rappaport as Simon McKay - a genius inventor with dwarfism. It debuted on 9th September 1986 Read more

The Rise of Skywalker – One 40 Something’s ‘Obsessed Fanboy’ pre-release thoughts…

No one likes an 'I told you so', so let's get the unpleasant bit out of the way. I told you so. Back in Feb 2018, whilst I was still Read more

The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

Banished from normal housing for the crime of adopting stray cats, Sorata Kanda’s life has gone to the dogs and he’s been impounded in Sakura Hall, a notorious den of Read more

The Maze (1953)

Directed by William Cameron Menzies, The Maze was 3-D horror film that deals with teratology and prenatal phylogenetic evolution. It begins when Scotsman Gerald MacTeam (Richard Carlson) abruptly ends his Read more

The legacy of Santa Claus: The Movie

Santa Claus: The Movie was supposed to be the holiday hit of 1985. Such was the confidence that father and son producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind had managed to get Read more

The Herculoids

Somewhere out in space live The Herculoids! Zok, the laser-ray dragon! Igoo, the giant rock ape! Tundro, the tremendous! Gloop and Gleep, the formless, fearless wonders! With Zandor, their leader, Read more

The Fugitives

Created by Eileen Gallagher and directed by Jane Prowse, The Fugitives was a seven part show from 2005 that follows fourteen-year-old Jay Keaton (Alex Roe). A teenager with a high Read more

The Face of Another (1966)

Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara and based on the novel of the same name by Kōbō Abe, The Face of Another follows an engineer named Mr. Okuyama (Tatsuya Nakadai), whose face Read more

The Degrassi Legacy and why it matters

In a time when the world was over exposed to glamorised American teenage dramas where teens were being played by thirty years olds a dramatic shift happened. The seeds of Read more

The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)

Directed by Coleman Francis, The Beast of Yucca Flats follows a Soviet scientist named Joseph Jaworsky (Tor Johnson), who defects and flees to a Nevada Test Site called Yucca Flats. Before Read more

The Adventures of Spunky and Tadpole

Written and directed by Art Moore, The Adventures of Spunky and Tadpole ran for 150 episodes between 1958 and 1961. The show followed a little boy named Spunky (voiced by Read more

TAG (2015)

No men in sight, only women… and something unthinkable is killing girls! Internationally acclaimed director Sion Sono (LOVE EXPOSURE, COLD FISH,WHY DON’T YOU PLAY IN HELL?, TOKYO TRIBE) is back Read more

Star Trek: Leonard McCoy, Frontier Doctor (#1-4)

Space, the final frontier... and on that frontier and beyond, humans and aliens alike need medical care. Enter Leonard McCoy, Doctor of Space Medicine, late of the U.S.S. Enterprise. This Read more

Ronin Warriors

Created by Hajime Yatate, Ronin Warriors (aka Legendary Armor Samurai Troopers aka Yoroiden Samurai Troopers) takes place in a world where after a thousand years Talpa (voiced by Shigezō Sasaoka Read more

Ressha Sentai Toqger Vs Kyoryuger: The Movie (2015)

As 2015 begins, ToQger and Kyoryuger run wild on the big screen! When things get rough, all aboard! A station on the Rainbow Line is swallowed by a mysterious energy Read more

Preview- The Beastmaster (VSU Bluray)

The Beastmaster comes to VSU - Vinegar Syndrome's Vinegar Syndrome Ultra, a new Vinegar Syndrome sub-label focused exclusively on extravagant UHD/Blu releases of ‘major’ 80s and 90s titles that might Read more

%d bloggers like this: