Heartbreaking news today, as we've learned that prolific actor Rip Torn has passed away at the age of 88. As reported by THR, "Torn died peacefully at his home in Lakeville, Connecticut."
Torn was known for his portrayal of Zed, the head of the top secret government organization, in the first two Men in Black films, and also starred in other genre films, such as The Man Who Fell to Earth, A Stranger Is Watching, The Beastmaster, Dolly Dearest, and RoboCop 3.
The Beastmaster director Don Coscarelli (Phantasm) tweeted tonight, "As a young filmmaker I was blown away by Rip Torn’s performance in PAYDAY. We became friends working together on THE BEASTMASTER. I’ll always look back fondly on meeting up at his little crash pad for lunches in Malibu- and the great Hollywood stories he’d tell. RIP dear friend."
Outside of genre films, Torn standout presence elevated many comedic films including his character Patches O'Houlihan, a legend of his sport, in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, as well as one-of-a-kind roles in Freddy Got Fingered, and The Legend of Awesomest Maximus.
Rip Torn was also nominated for an Oscar in 1984 for Cross Creek, earned a Tony nomination in 1960 for playing Thomas J. Finley Jr. in Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird of Youth and he won a Primetime Emmy in 1996 for his role as Artie on "The Larry Sanders Show."
Torn was a phenomenal presence in cinematic history and he will be sorely missed. Our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.