Who is Leon Rippy?

Leon Rippy was born in Rock Hill, South Carolina USA, on 30 October 1949 – his zodiac sign is Scorpio and he holds American nationality. He is an actor who is perhaps still best known for having portrayed one of the lead characters – Earl the Angel – in the crime drama series “Saving Grace”, created by Nancy Miller and which also starred Holly Hunter and Kenny Johnson. The story follows an angel who gives a police detective working in Oklahoma a chance to change her life – the series won five awards and was nominated for 18 others, including a Golden Globe.

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Posted by B.K. On The Air on Sunday, 6 September 2015

Early life and education

Leon was raised an only child in Rock Hill by his father who was a mailman, and his mother who was a housewife. He became interested in acting while attending high school, and started going to a local theatre where he steadily learned the tricks to being a good actor – he began appearing in theatre plays before matriculation, and afterwards enrolled at a university from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre in 1971.

To this day, Leon has appeared in over 70 plays, and has founded and run two theatres. He has also done several non-acting jobs including in a circus and as a foreman on a ranch. At one point, Leon was considered as an accomplished ballet dancer.

Roles in movies

Leon made his debut film appearance in 1983, when he portrayed Doogan in the drama “Hit the Road Running”, but he didn’t gain recognition until 1984, when he appeared in four movies including the science fiction “Firestarter”, and the 3D science fiction comedy “Hyperspace”.

He then made a cameo appearance in the coming-of-age period drama “The Color Purple”, followed by his portrayal of the supporting character Gary Gerbitz in the biographical movie “Marie” which starred Sissy Spacek – the movie follows Marie Ragghianti who refused to release the prisoners who bribed Governor Ray Blanton, and was then fired from her position of the head of the Tennessee Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Leon played supporting characters in several movies in 1986, while his most notable performance was in the action movie “Raw Deal”, which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kathryn Harrold and Darren McGavin, and is about a former FBI agent who agrees to help FBI infiltrate the mafia in Chicago. In 1987, Leon appeared in the neo-noir psychological thriller film “The Bedroom Window”, and was then invited to play the killer in the action adventure comedy movie “Traxx”, which follows a mercenary who becomes a cookie maker.

The year 1988 saw him play supporting characters in both the drama “Track 29” and the comedy “Illegally Yours”, and in 1990 Leon portrayed Weskit in the action comedy film “Loose Cannons”, which follows a cop and a detective who are trying to find a Nazi sex tape which is rumored to feature Adolf Hitler.

The same year saw him play Robert Bob Olinger, the last victim of gunslinger Billy the Kid in the western movie “Young Guns II”, while he also portrayed Deputy Tate in the neo-noir movie “The Hot Spot”.

In 1991, he portrayed the lead character Hugh Dean Simpson in the John Lee Hancock’s romantic comedy “Hard Time Romance” – also known as “Vaya con Dios” – which follows a cowboy who is going through many obstacles hoping he will then be able to marry the love of his life. In 1994, Leon played the supporting character Major-General W.O. West in the science fiction adventure movie “Stargate”, starring Kurt Russell and James Spader, but which received mixed reviews, and in 1996, he played DOD #1 in the American-Mexican science fiction horror film “The Arrival”.

Leon Rippy

The following years saw Leon appear in movies such as the mystery thriller “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” in 1997, the neo-noir science fiction crime thriller “The Thirteenth Floor” in 1999 and the horror monster comedy “Eight Legged Freaks” in 2002. Three of his most recent roles in films have been in the sports drama “Gridiron Gang” which starred Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Xzibit in 2006, the western action movie “The Lone Ranger” which starred Johnny Depp in 2013, and the 2019 drama “Deadwood: The Movie” in which he played Tom Nuttall.

Roles in TV series

Leon made his debut TV series appearance in 1983, when he played Tommy Allen in the mini-series “Chiefs”, which is based on the eponymous novel written by Stuart Woods.

His next role came three years later when he guest starred as Sanders in a single episode of the mini-series “North and South” ,while the following year saw him play Crawford in the episode “Eye of the Storm” of the horror series “Werewolf”. He gained recognition only in 1988, after he guest starred as L. Q. ‘Sonny’ Clemmons in the episode “The Neutral Zone” of the science fiction series “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, then appeared in single episodes of many series, such as the crime dramas “Hunter” and “Hardball”, and the science fiction series “Quantum Leap”. He played four different characters in four episodes of the action crime series “Walker, Texas Ranger” between 1993 and 2001, and in 1997 he was cast to play the lead character Agent Nicholas LaRue in the science fiction series “The Visitor”, which also starred John Corbett.

Leon was praised for his portrayal of Tom Nuttall in the critically acclaimed historical crime drama “Deadwood”, created by David Milch and which starred Timothy Olyphant, Molly Parker and Ian McShane – the story follows people living in Deadwood city in South Dakota in the late 1800s. The series won 28 awards including one Golden Globe, and was nominated for 83 others, while Leon (together with his colleague) was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.

He went on to appear in five episodes of the action crime drama series “Leverage” in 2011, 12 episodes of the drama “Alcatraz” in 2012, and five episodes of the science fiction mystery drama “Under the Dome” in 2013.

Three of Leon’s most recent roles in series have been in two episodes of the drama “Rectify” in 2014, two episodes of the science fiction thriller mini-series “11.22.63” in 2016, and four episodes of the crime thriller series “The Blacklist” in 2017.

He is clearly in great demand for playing support roles in a variety of films and TV shows.

Teeth

Leon has rather odd teeth but seems to be perfectly aware of that and occasionally jokes on his own account when giving interviews, as during his interview with the magazine “The Philadelphia Inquirer”: ‘You know, look at my teeth, c’mon. I’m not going to get an angel. I’m not gonna get the girl, either, but I’m having the time of my life and I’m just so thankful.’

Wife Carol Rippy

Leon met his future wife Carol Rippy in 1975, when they were introduced by a mutual friend at a party, and after close to four years of dating, they married in a private ceremony attended by their closest friends and family. Carol is an actress who has appeared in two movies -“Moon 44” (1990) and “On Edge” (2001) – as well as in two episodes of the series “Saving Grace” in 2010.

She gave birth to her and Leon’s daughter Stacie Rippy on 7 May 1981, and Stacy has since become an actress too, and is today known for her roles in the crime mystery series “The Mentalist”, and the fantasy mystery drama “True Blood” – two years after Stacy was born, Leon and Carol welcomed their son Amos Rippy.

Leon hasn’t talked about any women he might have been with before meeting Carol, and as of September 2020, he is married and has two children.

Hobbies and other interests

Leon’s main hobby has always been travelling, and while his career as an actor has taken him all around the world, he has also travelled a lot with a circus – some of his favorite cities to visit are Melbourne in Australia, Paris in France, and London in England.

Leon Rippy

He is still an avid dancer although he rarely goes dancing nowadays. Leon was physically very active during his 20s, 30s and 40s, as he played various sports such as football and soccer, while he also practiced ice skating and went to the gym.

He is a lover of animals, and has had several pet dogs and cats.

Some of his personal favorite actors and actresses are Elvis Presley, Tom Hanks and Emma Watson, and some of the movies he likes to watch the most are “Viva Las Vegas”, “The Terminal” and the franchise “Harry Potter”.

Net worth

Leon’s age is 70. He has long gray hair and blue eyes, his height is 5ft 8ins (1.73m) and he weighs around 145lbs (66kgs).

As of September 2020, Leon’s net worth has been estimated at over $2 million.

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