Once Known as Angelica Torn, the Daughter of American Acting Royalty Takes a "Page" Out of Her Mother's Book

By Harry Haun
05 Feb 2012

Rip Torn
"Cross Creek," Torn's Oscar-contending performance, is Page's personal favorite Torn, but picking Mama's best is more problematic. "It changes," she confesses. "'Interiors' is really remarkable, but then there's 'The Pope of Greenwich Village' — and there's 'Sweet Bird of Youth' and 'Christmas Memory.' They are all so different. It's really, really hard to choose. I watch 'The Trip to Bountiful' more than anything else. That's the most meaningful to me, for lots of reasons, and I was on the set with her. I think the reason it's my favorite is because I really remember her during that time."

For the actress-to-be, there couldn't be better training than watching Geraldine Page work, and that essentially was her daughter's childhood. "I spent most of my youth either backstage or on a set. I missed a lot of school, which I didn't like, so I was very happy. My mother and I always had some sort of makeshift tutoring system for me.

Geraldine Page

"She really was of the belief that traveling the world was much more important than sitting in a classroom. I guess she knew that, eventually, I would end up being an actress because I got all this training. I basically grew up backstage at the Music Box Theatre — she did so many plays at the Music Box. Absurd Person Singular was the longest-running comedy at that time. I was at that theatre every single night, and she had the dressing room right off stage that has two rooms so she had the backroom set up for me with the bed, and I would do my homework and order in food and listen to Absurd Person Singular every night. I was about seven or eight at the time. I would watch from the wings, and I was allowed to play around backstage so I learned about theatre super-super-early. There was a lot of that."

There is an "I Remember Mama" in Page, and it's coming out in three ways. "It has been 25 years since my mother passed away, so I'm having a trifectorate — a trilogy of projects that have to do with her: a documentary, a one-person show and a book.

"They're all going to be presented this year. I wrote the play myself, and I'll perform it as well, playing my mother and myself. The working title is Turning Page. We'll see how that works out. The first sharing of the material — my first reading of the play — will be April 30 at the Playwrights-Directors unit of the Actors Studio."

That's a very good place to start. Rip Torn and Geraldine Page met at the Actors Studio.