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By all accounts, Rip Torn has been having a pretty rough February, but we wanted to take a moment to appreciate why we care about him in the first place, and why we hope he’s doing all right.

It’s hard being a Hollywood lifer, but Mr. Torn pulls it off better than just about everyone, which is one reason he’s spent the last few years as a go-to curmudgeon for comedies. Don’t be fooled; he’s a whole lot cooler than that. For one: he’s friends with both Harry Nilsson and Miles Davis—which is quite a feat by any standards.

For firsthand proof, we’d suggest the Larry Sanders Show, where his producer Artie was both a career peak but quite possibly the perfect specimen of the showbiz fixer. One particular high note: He describes his beloved Glenlivet by saying, “When you die and go to heaven, you’ll say hello to God, and when God says hello, this is what you’ll smell on his breath.”

But only in moderation…

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom