Emmy winner and ‘Men in Black’ actor Rip Torn dies at 88

Will Smith, Seth MacFarlane, Alec Baldwin and more pay tribute

Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated actor Rip Torn has died at the age of 88, his publicist has confirmed.

The actor, known for his work in the Men in Black series and The Larry Sanders Show, passed away on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Associated Press. His wife, Amy Wright, and daughters Katie Torn and Angelica Page were by his side. No cause of death was given.


The versatile actor, who is the cousin of film icon Sissy Spacek, first kicked off his storied career in the 50s with dark, dramatic performances. After a brief mid-career slump in the late-80s, with a disastrous directorial debut with 1988’s The Telephone, Torn would come back to prominence in the 90s after a pivot to comedic roles.

These included Agent Zed in the Men in Black series, his Emmy-winning role as the hot-tempered Artie on the 1992 HBO sitcom The Larry Sanders Show, and as the voice of Zeus in Disney’s 1997 animated adaptation of Hercules.

His comedic work also extended to the new millennium, including a memorable performance as the wrench-throwing coach in DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story and a recurring role on NBC’s 30 Rock.


In addition, Torn also garnered an Oscar nomination for his work in the 1983 biopic, Cross Creek, and a Tony Award nomination for his Broadway debut in the 1959 Tennessee Williams play, Sweet Bird of Youth.

Tributes to Torn have poured in on social media from celebrities and fans alike. Among those mourning Torn are Men in Black co-star Will Smith, author Neil Gaiman and Spider-Man: Homecoming co-writer John Francis Daley. Read them below:

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R.I.P. Rip

A post shared by Will Smith (@willsmith) on

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