Emmy-winning actor/director Rip Torn, who played Zed in the Men in Black movies and voiced Zeus in Disney’s Hercules, died July 9, 2019, at his home in Lakeland, Connecticut.  A cause of death has not been released yet, but he died at home, surrounded by family.

Rip Torn as High Priest Maax in Beastmaster {image via MGM}, 1982.

Elmore Rual Torn, Jr. was born on February 6, 1931 in Temple, Texas. He was known for being an actor’s actor and for his temper. “I have certain flaws in my make-up. Something called irascibility. I get angry easily. I get saddened by things easily.” After graduating from the University of Texas, he served in the United States Army.

He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Role as Marsh Turner in Cross Creek. He was nominated for nine Emmies and won one for Outstanding Supporting Actor on The Larry Sanders Show. He also won an American Comedy Award for the same role, Artie on The Larry Sanders Show. He was nominated for a Golden Satellite Award for his portrayal of Zed in Men in Black. He won the NAVGTR Award as the voice of Hephaestus in the video game God of War III. He also was nominated for a Razzie Award as the Worst Supporting Actor in Freddy Got Fingered. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his Broadway debut in Sweet Bird of Youth. He won the Obie Award for Distinguished Performance in an off-Broadway production of The Deer Park.

Rip Torn co-starred with David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth. He was married three times, to actress Ann Wedgeworth, actress Geraldine Page, and actress Ann Wright. He is survived by his wife Ann, six children, four grandchildren, and his sister, as well as his cousin, Sissy Spacek.

Au revoir, Rip Torn. Dream well.


Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress ”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.