Speed Reads

RIP

Actor Rip Torn dies at 88

Emmy Award-winning actor Rip Torn, whose career spanned seven decades and included a lauded stint on The Larry Sanders Show, died on Tuesday. He was 88.

Torn's publicist confirmed his death to The Associated Press, and said he was surrounded by family when he died. Born Elmore Rual Torn in Texas, he started using the name "Rip" as a boy, and despite being pressured by other actors and managers to go by his birth name, he refused. Trained at the Actors Studio, Torn inspired his cousin, Sissy Spacek, to get into acting.

He appeared on television, in movies, and on Broadway, and was also a political activist, speaking out against racial segregation in the 1960s. On TV, Torn played everyone from Walt Whitman to Richard Nixon to Ulysses S. Grant. While starring on The Larry Sanders Show in the 1990s, he earned six consecutive Emmy nominations for best supporting actor in a comedy series, winning in 1996. He had a reputation for being hard to work with, but he downplayed it, telling The New York Times in 2006 that's what people say about "all the guys that are tremendous actors."