Dodgeball and Men In Black star Rip Torn dies aged 88
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Dodgeball and Men In Black star Rip Torn dies aged 88

HOLLYWOOD ACTOR Rip Torn has passed away, aged 88.

Best known for a string of comedic roles in films like Men In Black and Dodgeball, the award-winning film, television and theatre star died at his home on Tuesday afternoon.

His wife and two daughters were by his side at the time of his passing.

No cause of death has been given.

Born Elmore Rual Torn, he took the name of Rip as a child and, despite enduring plenty of ridicule for it as a young actor, refused to chance it.

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A military policeman during the Korean War, Torn hitchhiked to Hollywood with dreams of becoming a star.

He initially landed a string of small film and TV roles, working as a cook and dishwasher until he got his big break with the adaptation of Tennessee Williams' Baby Doll in 1956.

His film debut followed a year later in 1957 with Time Limit, where he played a former prisoner of war who breaks down at a court-martial.

A string of film roles followed including movies like Critic's Choice, The Cincinnati Kid and Defending Your Life – though his career was not without controversies.

Torn’s reputation was famously tarnished when he was fired from the Dennis Hopper film Easy Rider and replaced by Jack Nicholson amid reports of tensions on the set.

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By the early 1980s he was back on track though, earning an Academy Award nomination for his turn as Marsh Turner in 1983s Cross Creek.

The free-spirited Texan’s career took a turn towards more comedic roles in the 1990s, starting with his Emmy-award winning turn in The Larry Sanders Show.

He went on to voice the Greek god Zeus in the underrated Disney animated effort Hercules and played Chief Zed, the head of the Men In Black, in the Will Smith sci-fi action comedy.

Torn is also remembered for the role of eccentric coach Patches O'Houlihan in Dodgeball alongside Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller, and the catchphrase: "Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge” while his efforts in the divisive Tom Green comedy Freddy Got Fingered rarely gets the plaudits it deserves.

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Tributes have poured in following Torn's death.

Actor Albert Brooks wrote on Twitter: "R.I.P Rip Torn. He was so great in Defending Your Life. I'll miss you Rip, you were a true original."

Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane tweeted: "Rip Torn always made me laugh. Artie and Bob Diamond were two utterly unforgettable characters."