Date of Birth: February 6th 1931
Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning television and film actor, who is perhaps best known for his role as Artie on the HBO comedy series The Larry Sanders Show.
Torn was born Elmore Rual Torn, Jr. in Temple, Texas to Thelma Mary Spacek and Elmore Rual Torn, an agriculturalist and economist. Being given the name "Rip" is a family tradition of men in the Torn family. It has been a tradition for several generations. It was given to him by his father, who was also called Rip. After attending Texas A&M, Torn majored in animal husbandry at The University of Texas at Austin where he became a member of Sigma Chi.
Following graduation from university, Torn relocated from his native Texas to give Hollywood a shot, making his debut in the 1956 film Baby Doll. Realizing that the way to success was a hard one, Torn headed to New York where he studied at the Actors Studio under Lee Strasberg and started becoming a prolific stage actor, appearing in the original cast of Tennessee Williams' play Sweet Bird of Youth, and reprising the role in the film and television adaptations. One of his earliest roles was in the film Pork Chop Hill, playing the brother-in-law of Gregory Peck's character.
The part of lawyer George Hanson in the Peter Fonda-Dennis Hopper road movie Easy Rider was written for Torn by Terry Southern (who was a close friend) but according to Southern's biographer Lee Hill, Torn withdrew from the project after he and co-director Dennis Hopper got into a bitter argument in a New York restaurant, ending with Hopper pulling a knife on Torn. As a result, Torn had to be replaced by Jack Nicholson, whose appearance in the film catapulted him to stardom.
In 1988, he made an unsuccessful venture into directing with the offbeat comedy The Telephone, starring Whoopi Goldberg.