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  • The Granger Chronicles according to Dan Martinets

    RIP TORN & "SISSY" SPACEK

    Cousins from Granger, Texas

    by John Troesser
    young Sissy Spacek post card
    Texas' Sissy Spacek as starlet
    Old Post Card

    It's a fact that they're cousins. Rip was known as Skip as he was growing up in Granger. He returns to Granger from his farm in Connecticut from time to time, but it's usually on the sad occasion of funerals.

    Taylor, Texas claims Rip in their chamber of commerce brochures and Fayetteville, Texas has an 8x10 glossy of Sissy in their little museum. That's because Sissy's great-grandfather once owned a huge two-story house just off the square in Fayetteville. He sold it and moved to Williamson County, where his son and eventually Sissy were born and raised.

    When Rip got in the movies, he may have mentioned to Sissy during his visits home, that it beat working. Anyway, she checked into it and before long, she became Carrie. Eventually her name became more of a household word than her cousin's.

    © John Troesser
    December, 2000

    From Granger Through The Years by Clay Coppedge:


    Martinets shared his memories of Hollywood actors Rip Torn and Sissy Spacek, native Texans who spent a good part of their respective childhoods visiting Mary Spacek’s house across the street from where Martinets lived.

    “It was the first two-story house in Granger,” Martinets said. “That was very exciting to a kid.”

    Martinets remembered Rip Torn as a little boy who would occasionally challenge Mary Spacek’s patience. “He had a little yellow scooter he drove like mad. His grandmother (Mary Spacek) would yell out, ‘Slow down, Skippy! Slow down!”

    As might be imagined, Skippy rarely heeded the warning.

    Torn presided over Granger’s Lakefest in 1986, not long after he received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of the farmer Marsh Turner in “Cross Creek.”

    Though Torn doesn’t make it back to Granger as often as he used to, Martinets remembered when he flew back to Texas from Spain, where he was playing Judas in “King of Kings,” to attend Mary Spacek’s funeral.

    “I remember him going up and kissing the casket,” he said. “I remember that because it was such a touching, human moment. It was genuine. He wasn’t acting.”
    Spacek family headstone

    The Spacek family headstone in Fayetteville, Texas
    TE Photo

    Sissy Spacek appeared at Lakefest the year before Torn, her cousin, had the honor. She had just won an Academy Award for her performance as Loretta Lynn in “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Like Torn, she served as Grand Marshal and received a proclamation from the state declaring May 11, 1985 as “Sissy Spacek Day.”

    Spacek’s father, A.E. Spacek, was with his daughter at the 1985 Lake Fest and spoke to a reporter with mixed emotions about his old hometown.

    “It’s the same story to be found in all small towns which used to be agriculturally important,” he said. “Now they’re dependent on industry and they’re in trouble…This is the friendliest, most wholesome town I know. This is a great little community. These people never give up – no way – and I’m proud to call it my hometown.” more
    Forum
  • Subject: Sissy Spacek

    Your story about Rip Torn and Sissy Spacek is mostly true. They were cousins, and Rip Torn played a very important role in Sissy becoming the star that she is. However, she was born and raised in Quitman, Texas which is Wood County. They have streets named after her there, I would be surprised if folks from Quitman haven't already contacted you....they are very proud of their home town girl. I hear she was a majorette and the home coming queen when she was a senior there. After she graduated, she moved to New York with her cousin Rip Torn and the rest is history... - James C. Neal, Mineola, Texas, August 12, 2005

  • Subject: Sissy Spacek @ Mineola

    One other note on Sissy Spacek: There was a write up in the Dallas Morning News one time telling the story about the closest movie theater to see her movies was the Select Theater in Mineola. The funny thing was that the Select Theater didn't have enough Ss to spell her name on the Marque out front. So, her name never was spelled right. - James C. Neal, Mineola, Texas, August 13, 2005
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