James Lipton, 'Inside the Actors Studio' Host, Dies At 93

Monday, March 2nd 2020, 3:54 pm
By: Associated Press

James Lipton, the longtime host of "Inside the Actors Studio," has died at the age of 93, according to Ovation TV, which currently airs episodes of the show. Lipton died at his home Monday morning after a battle with bladder cancer, his wife, Kedakai Turner, told The New York Times and TMZ.

"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," Turner, his wife of nearly 50 years, told TMZ.

Lipton was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Jewish immigrant parents. After serving in the Air Force, he moved to New York where he worked in radio and later wrote operas. 

In the 90s, Lipton orchestrated the partnership between The Actors Studio and The New School, which resulted in the creation of The Actors Studio Drama School, according to Ovation. 

Pace University is the current home of the acting school. There, Lipton created a class, Inside the Actors Studio, in which he would interview actors about their experiences on and off the screen.

Lipton hosted the television show for 23 seasons. Lipton sat down with more than 250 celebrities, including Ben Affleck, Eddie Murphy, Brad Pitt, Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg and Gwyneth Paltrow, according to Entertainment Tonight. He stepped down as its host in 2018 when the show moved from Bravo to Ovation TV. 

As an actor, Lipton made several appearances on shows like "Arrested Development" and "Guiding Light." He also worked on several Broadway productions and wrote multiple books, including "An Exaltation of Larks" and "Mirrors."

Lipton received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Daytime Emmys in 2007.

On "Inside the Actors Studio," Lipton would end each conversation with the same question, asking celebrities: "If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?" 

Lipton answered that question during a 2012 interview with CNN. "You see, Jim, you were wrong. I exist. But you may come in anyway," he said. 

In that same interview, Lipton praised comedian Will Ferrell's impression of him. "He came on my show and did it. He interviewed me as me," he said. "I was in one of his shows, 'Bewitched,' at his request. We're good friends."

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