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Will Smith leads Rip Torn tributes after Men In Black star dies aged 88

Will Smith led the tributes to his Men In Black co-star Rip Torn after the actor died aged 88.

The award-winning Hollywood star died at his home with his wife and two daughters by his side on Tuesday, his representative confirmed.

Smith shared a photo of himself and Torn in a scene from the sci-fi comedy, captioning it: “R.I.P. Rip.”

The late actor played Chief Zed, the head of the Men In Black organisation, in the 1997 film and its sequel.

Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane praised Torn for his roles as Artie in The Larry Sanders Show and Bob Diamond in the film Defending Your Life.

“Rip Torn always made me laugh. Artie and Bob Diamond were two utterly unforgettable characters,” he wrote.

Novelist Neil Gaiman revealed that a meeting with the Emmy winner inspired the character of Mr Wednesday in his fantasy epic American Gods.

“I met Rip Torn once, in 1990, on a movie location in NC,” he wrote on Twitter. “‘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.”

Matilda star Mara Wilson recalled working with Torn on Disney film Balloon Farm, writing:  “I was lucky enough to work with Rip Torn when I was ten. I had no idea how much he had done, just that he was a nice and interesting guy. What a life.”

Rip Torn, pictured at a premiere in 2006, died with his wife and daughters by his side on Tuesday (REUTERS)

Alec Baldwin, who worked with Torn on NBC comedy 30 Rock, described him as “a deeply committed, phenomenal actor.”

“I worked on @nbc30rock with #RipTorn in the roles of Don Geiss, the head of GE,” he said. “He was a deeply committed, phenomenal actor. See you down the road, Rip. You wonderful madman.”

Born Elmore Rual Torn, the star adopted the name Rip as a child, following a family tradition.

He was celebrated for his award-winning turn on The Larry Sanders Show and also gained fans for his standout turn as coach Patches O’Houlihan in Dodgeball alongside Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller.

The actor is survived by his wife Amy Wright and daughters Katie Torn and Angelica Page. The cause of his death has not yet been given.


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