Rip Torn — who died at 88 on July 9 — was a beloved movie funnyman in modern comedies like Men in Black and Dodgeball.
But the laughter hid a shocking, self-destructive secret life!
Born Elmore Rual Torn Jr., the Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated actor was a rising rocket in Hollywood until his wild dark side emerged.
He was slated for the role that made Jack Nicholson famous in the 1969 counterculture classic Easy Rider — until he got into a vicious argument with Dennis Hopper that ended with Rip allegedly trying to stab him!
And in 1970, he bashed famed tough-guy author Norman Mailer on the head with a hammer while making Mailer’s movie Maidstone. The fight was captured on camera and included in the finished film!
Torn’s unpredictability kept him from getting lead parts in the ’80s, but his life seemed back on track when he landed his signature role as Artie, the late-night producer on The Larry Sanders Show.
But the actor’s demons returned after the show was canceled in 1998.
He was busted for drunk driving several times in 2008 and entered an alcohol program near his home in Salisbury, Conn.
Then he hit bottom again when he was arrested in 2010 for drunkenly breaking into a bank with a loaded pistol — when he was 78 years old!
Incredibly, Rip avoided jail time by claiming he thought the bank was his home!
“It’s heartbreaking,” said his daughter, Angelica. “Maybe now he’s finally going to have to face the truth about himself.”