Rip Torn

Not too long after I graduated from UT, I went back to play the part of Macbeth at Hogg Auditorium. I wanted to see how somebody like that—a verified homicidal psychopathic murderer—behaved, so I went to the Austin State Hospital. The university set it up for me, and the warden checked me out to make sure it was bona fide. The guard took me to the most violent criminals and asked if this was the group I wanted to see. I said yes and walked in. He closed the door behind me and told me he would be back in an hour to check on me. There were these big windows that were about four feet from the floor, so I swung myself up there and sat with my back to the window so no one would come up behind me. They were all studying me, and one fella finally asked, “What are you in for?” I said, “Mistaken identity.” So then he went and talked to some other guys and came back and said, “You don’t have to worry about a thing. We’re gonna take care of you because we know who you are, Bogie.” They thought I was Humphrey Bogart.

Rip Torn was born in Temple and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. He has appeared in numerous Broadway productions ( Sweet Bird of Youth) , movies ( Men in Black ), and television shows (the HBO comedy series The Larry Sanders Show ). Torn finished filming his newest project, Wonder Boys , which also stars Michael Douglas and Frances McDormand, in April.

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