When it comes to interviewing actors, one of the most well-known individuals in that field has been James Lipton, who spent nearly two and a half decades chatting with performers on Inside The Actors Studio. Sadly, word has come in that Lipton has died at the age of 93.
James Lipton’s wife Kedakai Turner, who married him in 1970s, informed TMZ that he passed away peacefully this morning following a battle with bladder cancer. Turner also told the outlet the following:
There are so many James Lipton stories but I’m sure he would like to be remembered as someone who loved what he did and had tremendous respect for all the people he worked with.
Starting in 1994, James Lipton became one of the most beloved TV hosts, though not one that people would automatically list in the same breath as late night talk show hosts or game show hosts. Inside the Actors Studio was a Hollywood standout all on its own, giving audiences the kinds of deep and introspective interviews that were normally reserved for magazines and other print articles where whole conversations could play out. And Lipton was the perfect anchor for all of the rich stories and hilarious moments.
Memorable guests over the years include Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, George Carlin, Viola Davis, Meryl Streep, Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and just about every other actor in Hollywood worth their weight in conversation. Across 277 episodes of Inside the Actor Studio, James Lipton got to know the entertainment industry's elite in ways that no other TV guest could hope to achieve. And he learned a whole of their favorite curse words in the meantime. (For what it's worth, Lipton's favorite form of curse word is "Jesus Christ!")
James Lipton only retired from hosting Inside the Actors Studio, in a manner of speaking, in 2018 when the chat series moved from its longtime home at Bravo over to the network Ovation. Here's what Lipton said at the time:
I made a vow early on that we would not deal in gossip — only in craft, and Ovation, as a network dedicated to the arts, will continue that tradition with the next seasons of the series. I’m excited to see the new hosts engage with the guests and students and continue to entertain viewers in the U.S. and around the world.
Born in Detroit on September 19, 1926, James Lipton was an only child who entered the work field at a young age to help with his single mother's financial struggles. Though he'd initially sought to be a lawyer, Lipton turned to acting and writing, appearing in radio plays and stage plays through the 1950s and beyond, while also publishing books starting in the 1960s. (He also had a stint as a quasi-pimp while in Paris in the 1950s.) His legacy was cemented in the early 1990s, however, when he founded the Actors Studio Drama School, which led to the formation of the TV show we all know and love.
Beyond his work with the Actors Studio, James Lipton has made some memorable appearances in other TV shows and movies over the years. He appeared as himself in the films Bewitched and Igor, and had a string of fun TV cameos throughout the early 2000s in shows such as The Simpsons, Arrested Development (both the Fox and Netflix versions), Family Guy, Glee and Saturday Night Live. The sketch comedy's fans can no doubt instantly recall Will Ferrell's portrayal during Inside the Actors Studio spoofs.
We here at CinemaBlend send our thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of James Lipton in their time of need.