Men in Black star Rip Torn dies aged 88

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Rip Torn, the US actor best known for his roles in Men in Black and The Larry Sanders Show, has died aged 88.

A character actor with a seven-decade career, he won an Emmy in 1996 for playing Artie, Sanders’ irascible producer, in Garry Shandling’s sitcom.

His sole Oscar nomination came for 1983 drama Cross Creek.

Will Smith, who appeared with Torn in Men in Black and its first sequel, paid tribute by posting a picture of them together on Instagram.

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R.I.P. Rip

A post shared by Will Smith (@willsmith) on

Fantasy writer Neil Gaiman said the actor had been the inspiration for the Mr Wednesday character in his novel American Gods.

Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane paid tribute to Torn’s work in The Larry Sanders Show and as Bob Diamond in 1991 comedy Defending Your Life.

Alec Baldwin, who worked with Torn on TV comedy 30 Rock, said he was “a deeply committed, phenomenal actor” and “a wonderful madman”.

Born Elmore Rual Torn Jr. in Texas in 1931, Torn moved to New York in the 1950s to study at the legendary Actors Studio in New York.

He earned a Tony nomination for 1960 for playing the menacing Tom Finley Jr. in Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth, a role he reprised in the 1962 film version.

Men in Black star Rip Torn dies aged 88
His early roles included Judas in Biblical epic King of Kings

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