The death of Rip Torn at the age of 88 isn’t just sad because we’ve lost a talented actor, best known to comedy fans for his role in The Larry Sanders Show. It’s also sad because we’ve lost one of the most underrated and delightfully specific Twitter accounts of all time: @RipTornOutlives.
If you’re unfamiliar with @RipTornOutlives, it’s a simple account with a modest following (as of yesterday, just under 3,000 followers) and a straightforward premise: to chronicle everything that the late actor managed to outlive, whether it be celebrity deaths, pop-cultural events, scandals, entertainment and politics stories, or really anything significant in the news.
In a thread posted to Twitter today, @RipTornOutlives’s creator, Los Angeles-based comedian Conor Sullivan, said he started the account in December 2016 after the death of Carrie Fisher. “Over that year of 90 percent of all celebrities dying, I kept making note that one celebrity seemed to be surviving against all odds,” he explained. “I hurriedly made the account mainly to keep track of all those 2016 celebrities he outlived, thinking he probably wouldn’t make it much further. He made it so much further than anyone could have ever thought.” Beyond that, Sullivan said he’s always been a huge Rip Torn fan and hoped the account would “spread awareness of this perfect specimen of humanity.” And that’s exactly what @RipTornOutlives did — while also managing to be extremely funny:
“It’s weird, because at first it was just a reaction to 2016 celeb deaths, but then it became fun to comment on, like, the revolving doors of the Trump administration and how Rip Torn was outliving all the people who got canceled/called out,” Sullivan told Vulture about the account. “A lot of people followed because they thought it was political or making statements, but it was just me lazily slapping his face on stock photos because it looked funny.” When asked to choose his favorite @RipTornOutlives tweet, Sullivan responded with these two:
Perhaps the most poetic thing Rip Torn outlived, as pointed out by ScreenCrush editor-in-chief Matt Singer, is the writer of his own obituary:
Sullivan made a video of some of the account’s greatest hits and decided to end @RipTornOutlives’s run with the following tweet:
“At the end of the day, it’s been so fun to talk to people about him and get more people on board with his work, because hypermasculine maniacal character actors like him just don’t exist anymore,” Sullivan said. “I am truly going to miss replying to my mentions in his voice and calling everyone ‘Sweetie’ though. I’ll probably still do it out of boredom.”
Thank you, Conor Sullivan, for your service. @RipTornOutlives might be dead, but the tweets will live on forever.