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'They call me Rip': The day actor Rip Torn explained his name to CBC

It didn't say Rip Torn on his credit card, but that's how the world knew him. 
In 1990, actor Rip Torn talked briefly to CBC's Midday about his uncommon first name. 0:34

It didn't say Rip Torn on his credit card, but that's how the world knew him. 

He was born Elmore Rual Torn, but he ended up going with the nickname Rip — like other men in his family.

"They call me Rip: It's my family nickname," Torn told CBC's Midday in 1990, when asked about his unusual first name.

"My dad was called Rip. I've got an Uncle Roland in Houston called Rip. I have a cousin Sam, he's called Rip. But I'm the only one in showbiz."

Torn joked he only used the name Elmore in select circumstances — when seeking "respect" and needing to show someone his American Express card, which had his birth name on it.

He'd stuck with the name Rip throughout his long acting career despite pressure he faced in his early days in the business to change it.

The veteran actor died yesterday at the age of 88.

With files from The Associated Press