Hopper, Torn: Uneasy Riders

Actor Rip Torn (“The Larry Sanders Show”), who has already been awarded $475,000 for comments made about him by fellow actor Dennis Hopper, was awarded another $475,000 in punitive damages on Monday. Hopper, who directed and starred in the 1969 movie “Easy Rider,” told Jay Leno in a 1994 “Tonight Show” episode that Torn was turned down for the role eventually played by Jack Nicholson because Torn had pulled a knife on Hopper at a New York restaurant. Torn contended in his defamation lawsuit that Hopper had come at him with a buck knife, and he grabbed it away and pointed it at Hopper. In 1997, in a non-jury trial, Torn was awarded $300,000 for lost income caused by Hopper’s statement and $175,000 for emotional distress.

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