Rip Torn is no longer outliving anything
July 10, 2019 6:57 PM   Subscribe

Get me Jack Donaghy!

posted by buzzv at 7:16 PM on July 10 [6 favorites]

A prolific actor best known for Everything.

posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 7:17 PM on July 10 [10 favorites]


I loved him. He had this talent to take mundane lines and make them hilarious. He has all these memorable lines it always turns out I didn't remember correctly at all when I rewatch, just the after effect of the tone and timing.
posted by mark k at 7:20 PM on July 10 [8 favorites]

posted by Joey Michaels at 7:21 PM on July 10

posted by JoeXIII007 at 7:23 PM on July 10

posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 7:24 PM on July 10


Well, he outlived Abe Vigoda by 3-and-a-half years and his 'top banana' Garry Shandling by 3 years. We need to designate someone else as "Celebrity Who Outlived Everything" now.... I'd suggest Alex Trebek but that would probably jinx him.So it's down to either Regis Philbin, James Earl Jones or Betty White...
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:28 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]

He was so good as a magnificent bastard on The Larry Sanders Show.

posted by fleacircus at 7:31 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]

"That's what this sack of wrenches is for. If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball."

CW: a brief possible slur earlier in the clip; the link starts after that
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:33 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]

posted by lalochezia at 7:37 PM on July 10


thechildmustbeCUT, fromitsmother… BRANDED, withthesignof ARRR... and SACRIFICED
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:43 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]

I am having cognitive dissonance because I thought he was a very weathered 65 year old but now I learn he was a great looking 88 year old.
posted by gatorae at 7:45 PM on July 10 [20 favorites]

he definitely doesn’t want any sausages now, that’s for sure
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:50 PM on July 10 [10 favorites]

He first entered my consciousness in Summer Rental, which, IIRC, I saw on a rented VCR before we owned one.

RIP, Scully:

"All right. I win."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:51 PM on July 10

I've been drinking Salty Dogs all night.
posted by hwyengr at 7:52 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]

In the penultimate episode of Larry Sanders, Phil, the douchey head writer, gets the show hit with a sexual harassment suit for all the gay jokes he tells. Artie warns Phil to fix his mess:

Arthur: When this show ends, you wanna work again, don't you? Somewhere...
Phil: Yeah.
Arthur: You know who runs this town?
Phil: The jews.
Arthur: No, the gay jews.

The way Rip Torn delivers that line makes it the funniest thing in the entire show to me. I've chuckled at it every few days for the past 20 years.
posted by riruro at 8:00 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]

"If you really mean it this time, I'll cancel the ranch and the rest of us will sit in a sensory deprivation tank and see who takes a shit first."

Falls into this category for me:
posted by pilot pirx at 8:03 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]

"I met Rip Torn once, in 1990, on a movie location in NC. "You write science fiction?" he said, teeth in a scary grin. "I was in BEASTMASTER." Then he shook my hand and I ceased to exist for him. That was the start of Mr Wednesday in American Gods. RIP Rip." — Neil Gaiman
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:08 PM on July 10 [33 favorites]

Larry Sanders Show AND Defending Your Life, both incredible roles.

posted by Chrysostom at 8:15 PM on July 10 [6 favorites]

Way back when HBO stood for "Hey, Beastmaster's On", I learned this actors name.

Rip Torn sounded like a comic book name. I didn't exactly make a point to watch everything he was in, but I wouldn't pass on a movie if he was.

RIP, Rip.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:21 PM on July 10 [5 favorites]

Regarding the secret language of marriages, Rip Torn figures into mine from his role in Wonder Boys: “ a writer.”

We get a lot of mileage out of that when we’re stressed about work and stuff. Rip seemed like a particularly self-aware deliverer of those kinds of lines. May he rest in peace, truly.
posted by witchen at 8:30 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]

An old-school ‘70s Hollywood legend to the end: “In 2010, the then 79-year-old was charged with carrying a loaded gun while drunk and attempting to break into a branch of his local bank in Connecticut.

“Torn claimed he was confused at the time and mistook the bank for his house, which was a mile and a half down the street. According to reports, after breaking in, the actor went to sleep in the bank. When police arrived, he asked them what they were doing in his house.”

posted by Doktor Zed at 8:51 PM on July 10 [16 favorites]

Regarding the secret language of marriages, Rip Torn figures into mine from his role in Wonder Boys: “ a writer.”

For your enjoyment: The line in question
posted by billjings at 8:51 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]

I shouldn’t tell this story, but it was my first or second day, and we were rehearsing, and when we were leaving rehearsal, Rip had a car, and he said, “Do you want me to show you the town?” I said, “Sure!” So, you know, he’s driving around, he’s showing me this and showing me that, and I said, “My God, how long have you been here?” And he said, “Oh, I just got here two days ago.” And I went, “How in the world are you so familiar with everything?” He goes, “I make it a point to know every way out of town in any town I’m in.”
posted by Zed at 9:22 PM on July 10 [31 favorites]

posted by Canageek at 9:34 PM on July 10

R.I.P. Torn.

As I think I wrote in the obit thread for Garry Shandling these three years ago , did anyone who watched The Larry Sanders Show imagine that Torn would outlive Shandling? There’s just no way.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:41 PM on July 10 [5 favorites]

Lived to the fullest.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 10:01 PM on July 10

I don't really believe in magic shit. Or New Age energies. Or 'auras'. Any of that bullshit.

But Rip Torn is my spirit animal and I will fight anyone who says otherwise.
posted by downtohisturtles at 11:52 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]

I remember watching an interview with him on television once in the 90s, and he said that his friends would come back from production meetings for films or series, and the manager would say things like:
"Yeah, what we need for this character is a real Rip Torn type. Who can we get?"

And the friend would dutifully pipe up and say "Well you know, I can get you Rip Torn, he's hurting for wor–"

"Nah, he's too big a name. Probably busy with some Big Project. No way he'd join our thing! So, who do we know who's got that Rip Torn feel?"
And this is how really strong careers can stall out on a solid climb. I think Michael Caine famously spread the notion that he wasn't picky just so he'd continue to be approached for enough jobs that he'd have a choice.

posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 12:13 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]

Was 'Dash Riprock' a parody of his name?

RIP MIB3 Non-speaking big-headed alien to K's left in the Zed funeral scene (yep that was him)

posted by zaixfeep at 12:23 AM on July 11

posted by condour75 at 12:36 AM on July 11

"That's what this sack of wrenches is for. If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball."
Rip Torn did have an earlier, and notorious , on screen reputation as a wielder of tools as weapons. Ask Norman Mailer this scene from Maidstone (1970). Torn attacked Mailer with a hammer and Mailer bit Torn's ear. The Director could have intervened perhaps - except that happened to be Torn as well.
posted by rongorongo at 1:00 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]

Rip Torn is my spirit animal

Agree with the sentiment, but the phrase is best avoided, FYI.
posted by inire at 1:48 AM on July 11 [9 favorites]

posted by mordax at 4:05 AM on July 11

posted by Gelatin at 4:51 AM on July 11

He was one of the heaviest water buffalos to ever grace _any_ screen, given his very first real break by Eli Kazan ("Baby Doll", 1956), he also pops up in Kazan's classic "A Face in the Crowd", he could be relied on to project real tension and presence into any scene he graced, a true force of nature. I recent rewatched the entire "The Larry Sanders Show" (the entire series is available rather inexpensively on a DVD box set), he is just sublime, perfect as the producer, a total blast. His voice and eyes are totally unique and captivating, I just fucking adore him, this one really hurts.

I'll also share something that popped on up my Facebook feed, from actor Robert Ward:

"One night in the mid 80's when I had first come out to Hollywood to write on Hill Street Blues I had this idea I would go out to dinner with Jim Crumley, one of my dearest friends. He was down from Montana ,trying to get his masterpiece, "The Last Good Kiss" made for about the millionth time. So many so-called Great Screenwriters had fucked it up and there was so much money against it his chances seemed minimal but hey, there's always Hope. Anyway, I asked Jimmy if he wanted to have one more dinner partner, Margot Kidder. I had just met her and we had become instant friends. Margy was mercurial, wild and filled with a great love of writers. She knew Jim's work and wanted to meet him, and Jim loved the idea so there were three of us. I was about to leave my weird little pad at Franklin and Cherokee when the phone rang. It was none other tha my new friend Rip Torn, who was in town for a movie meeting . He wanted to have dinner and I invited him along. He loved the idea oif meeting Jimmy and Margot, and he also loved trhe restaurant, Chez Jay's, on the Coast Highway. One of the oldest, and funkiest restaurants in Hollywood History. What could be more fun? About half way there with Jimmy and Margot in tow it occurred to me that I weas having dinner with three pirates. Who was more famous for blowing up movie sets, getting into trouble with lovers, being out of control than my three dinner partners. Jesus, Rip, who had children with several women while married, Margot who had once married Richard Pryor when they were both blasted out of their minds. (Marriage lasted two weeks. "When we came down we both looked at one another and screamed, "Noooooo,honey!") What would happen? I mean I wasn't a model of stability myself...All three of us in the car just looked at one another and started laughing. Then we got to the restaurant and Rip was waiting for us. He smiled his Devil Smile and we were off, drinking, talking all at once, everyone in love with one another...Jesus, it was like taking speed but far better. These were my people, for sure, and I never wanted the dinner party to end. One crazy story after another...laughter, love and then I made the tactical error of saying,"You know we are all fucking pirates. " Everyone grew silent. Huge smiles. I made another tactical mistake, a huge one. "Why do pirates always say, Arrrrrrgh?" Rip looked at me and said, "Yr right they do. But you gotta say it better than that if yr gonna scare anyone." Crumley agreed and stood up from his seat. "Like this! ARGGGGGH!" The entire restaurant, filled now, stopped eating and looked over at our table. "That was good, but I think its more like this, "Rip said. he got up, and stood on his chair, swaying back and forth and then gave out a terrifying "ARRRRGGGHHHHHH!" Jesus, it shook the rafters. Everyone in the restaurant stopped for a second. What were they going to do? Call the cops? Demand that the pirates be keel hauled? No, they applauded en masse. And cheered, and raised their glasses. Soon drinks came our way. Then Margot stood up. "You men, you just don't get it," she screamed. "It's like this!": She reached for my hand and I helped her stand in the middle of the table. She daintily cleared her throa t,smiled and then gave out with the most amazing "ARGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!" of all time. The entire place went nuts. She took a slight mis-step and fell into Rips arms. "You win, baby," he said. "You are the Pirate Queen." And she was. Now all three of them are gone but this is how I like to remember them. Three people I loved and still love in my first days in Hollywood."

RIP, Rip, say hi to Bowie.


posted by dbiedny at 5:23 AM on July 11 [28 favorites]

posted by XMLicious at 5:50 AM on July 11

The $1.98 Beauty Show anticipated Adult Swim and got there twenty-five years early.
posted by EarBucket at 5:51 AM on July 11

posted by Cash4Lead at 6:14 AM on July 11

the phrase is best avoided, FYI.

Patronus is a good substitute.

posted by chainsofreedom at 6:47 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]

I first saw him in Airplane! 2, and gleefully followed him everywhere since.

"It's scotch whisky... Glenlivet, single malt. When you die, you'll go to heaven, say hello to God; and when God says hello to you, this is what you'll smell on his breath."
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:47 AM on July 11

posted by me3dia at 7:11 AM on July 11

$1.98 Beauty Show

That was Rip Taylor, who Wikipedia reports is (thankfully) still alive.

posted by suetanvil at 7:12 AM on July 11 [4 favorites]


posted by suetanvil at 7:15 AM on July 11

posted by EarBucket at 7:21 AM on July 11

He always seemed like he lived life to the fullest with the minimum of bullshit.
posted by Faintdreams at 7:25 AM on July 11

posted by Lesser Spotted Potoroo at 7:37 AM on July 11

Never could get my head around the fact that he and Sissy Spacek were cousins.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:37 AM on July 11

posted by valkane at 7:37 AM on July 11

posted by blurker at 7:38 AM on July 11

I don't know a spirit animal from a patronus, but whenever it's crunch time and the bullshit starts to overwhelm, that's when I summon my inner Artie.
posted by whuppy at 8:10 AM on July 11

I hope he is out there hosting an Intergalactic kegger
posted by supermedusa at 8:18 AM on July 11 [4 favorites]

posted by evilDoug at 8:55 AM on July 11

Name another actor willing to get covered in elephant semen
posted by fungible at 9:45 AM on July 11

posted by Splunge at 10:11 AM on July 11

posted by SonInLawOfSam at 10:16 AM on July 11

posted by allthinky at 10:22 AM on July 11

For the record, Rip's birth name was Elmore Torn, Jr. (and his father, Elmore Sr., was an agriculturist and economist best known for promoting black-eyed peas).

And Rip Taylor, whose show biz career started a decade after Torn's, was born Charles Taylor
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:19 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]

For the record, Rip's birth name was Elmore Torn, Jr. (and his father, Elmore Sr., was an agriculturist and economist best known for promoting black-eyed peas).

His father went by Tiger, which means that "Rip Torn" managed not even to have the coolest or weirdest name in his immediate family.
posted by Etrigan at 11:34 AM on July 11

So my Rip Torn story is from the days pre-Wikipedia.

I was smitten with Larry Saunders on HBO, but had never seen the brilliant actor playing the acerbic Arty. In my foggy thought processes, I confused Rip Taylor with Rip Torn. I was convinced he was perhaps the greatest Actor with the largest range of anyone working. Ever. Because Arty and Rip Taylor are the most diametrically opposed characters ever.

SO I went to the library, which is what you had to do before the days of having the sum total human knowledge in your pocket. Went upstairs to the reference section and asked the Librarian for a who`s who in hollywood book. I quickly learned Rip Torn and Rip Taylor were two different people.

And that is what happens to you when your early primary education is primarily Merv Griffin.

Pouring out a Salty Dog for him tonight.
posted by Keith Talent at 11:52 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]

If you can dodge a car...

Thanks for the laughs, Rip.

posted by nubs at 12:18 PM on July 11

"Everybody on Earth deals with fear. That's what Little Brains do."

I passionately love Defending Your Life, and Rip Torn is *amazing* as Bob Diamond.

posted by hanov3r at 2:10 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]

The Salty Dog is officially the drink of this summer in memory of Rip.

I expect that in Judgment City they're not going to have to review too many days of his life.
posted by MrBadExample at 12:53 AM on July 13

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