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Rip Torn, cult actor and 'Men In Black star, has died age 88

Rip Torn, the American actor and comedian, has died at the age of 88.

Arguably best known for his role as his role as Chief Zed in 1997 film Men in Black, Torn’s expansive work also includes the popular role of Artie on The Larry Sanders Show, a character which would go on to earn Town six Emmy Awards nominations.

While no cause of death has been revealed by Torn’s publicist, Torn died on July 9, 2019, at his home in Lakeville, Connecticut. The actor is said to have been surrounded by his wife and two daughters by his side.

While many of his fans remember Torn’s role of Chief Zed, the head of the Men In Black alongside Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, his work DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story is equally famed.

Taking on the quirky role of coach Patches O’Houlihan, Torn worked alongside the likes of Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller and coined the film’s key phrase: “Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge.”

Torn went on to appear on television and film late into his career, his final appearance coming in 2013 film Johnny Kidd.

Tributes have begun to pour in for the iconic actor, led by his Men In Black co-star Will Smith.

British sci-fi author Neil Gaiman said in tribute: “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.”

Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane also paid tribute, taking to social media to say: “Rip Torn always made me laugh. Artie and Bob Diamond were two utterly unforgettable characters,” in reference to Artie in The Larry Sanders Show and Bob Diamond in 1991 comedy Defending Your Life.

Alec Baldwin, who had previously worked with Torn on 30 Rock, said: “He was a deeply committed, phenomenal actor. See you down the road, Rip. You wonderful madman.”