Will Smith leads celebrity tributes to Rip Torn as Men In Black actor passes away age 88

WILL Smith has lead the celebrity tributes to Rip Torn after the Men In Black actor passed away aged 88.

The actor died at home in Lakeville, Connecticut, with his publicist confirming the news this morning.

Will, 50, who starred alongside Rip in 1997 film Men In Black and its sequel, lead the tributes by sharing a picture of them on set together with the caption: "R.I.P Rip."

Rip played Chief Zed, head of the Men In Black organisation, in both films.

Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane also took to social media to pay tribute to Rip and his characters on The Larry Sanders Show and in the movie Defending Your Life.

He tweeted: "Rip Torn always made me laugh. Artie and Bob Diamond were two utterly unforgettable characters."

Actor Alec Baldwin, who worked with Rip on hit NBC comedy 30 Rock, tweeted: "I worked on @nbc30rock with #RipTorn in the roles of Don Geiss, the head of GE.

"He was a deeply committed, phenomenal actor. See you down the road, Rip. You wonderful madman.”

Matilda actress Mara Wilson, who starred with Rip in Disney Film Balloon Farm, wrote: "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 had his wife Amy Wright and daughters Katie Torn and Angelica Page by his side as he died following an unspecified illness.

Torn won an Emmy late in his career for his comedy turn on TV's The Larry Sanders Show.

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Born Elmore Rual Torn in Temple, Texas, the actor adopted the name Rip in his boyhood – following the tradition of his father and uncle.

It was the subject of endless ridicule during his early days as a stage actor in New York.

Fellow drama students urged him to change it – but he stubbornly refused.

After decades on stage and screen, Rip won a whole new legion of fans in 1997 in Men in Black, before a memorable role as coach Patches O'Houlihan in DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story.

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