He was 93 years old and was fighting bladder cancer, his wife confirmed.
The iconic host of “Inside the Actors Studio,” James Lipton, died Monday at his home in New York City. I was fighting bladder cancer. I was 93 years old. “There are so many stories about James, 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,” said his wife Kedakai Turner when he made the sad news known…
Lipton had a historic career in television and film. Of course, he served as dean emeritus of the Actor Studio Drama School at Pace University in New York for several years. And he was responsible for leading his famous talk show, “Inside the Actors Studio”, which allowed him to get to know great movie stars in depth.
During his years at the helm of the show, from 1994 to 2018, Lipton interviewed countless entertainment personalities, including Tom Hanks, Viola Davis, Meryl Streep, Robin Williams, George Clooney, Dave Chappelle, and even the animated Simpsons cast.
It was filmed in front of a live audience full of enthusiastic acting students, some of whom had the opportunity to ask the guest questions. He started the show in 1994 and finally retired in 2018 after 22 seasons.
The program continues to this day, however, with other hosts.
“Inside the Actors Studio” was created to serve as a master class for the students of the Actors Studio Drama School. With Paul Newman as the first guest, each one-hour program became an intimate and deep one-to-one interview.
Nearly 300 celebrities, including many Oscar and Emmy winners, shared the secrets of their trade with Lipton and his student audience before television cameras. The show became one of the longest cable shows.
Lipton prepared each interview. Lover of words, he was known for his intricately elaborate questions and precise manner of delivery. His style was so distinctive that it led to a series of parodies, especially the imitation of Will Ferrell in SNL.
“I love. It’s very flattering, ”Lipton said during a CNN interview in 2012.
Among the most memorable interviews, is the one he conducted in 2011 to Bradley Cooper, who recalled his stage as a student in which, in that same program, he was able to ask the already consecrated Sean Penn in 1999. It was one of Lipton’s favorite interviews because it was very emotional for him to see one of his students succeed in Hollywood.
Their interviews lasted four to five hours and then were edited one hour for television. He had a talent to provoke unexpected revelations.
Ben Kingsley cried while talking about his mother’s death. Jack Lemmon revealed his alcoholism so casually that Lipton did not know if the actor described himself or a character in a movie. Sally Field suggested that Lipton had read her diary for knowing so much about her, and Julia Roberts asked her if she had called her mother before the interview.
The program was the culmination of a long career for Lipton that began on the radio and included works as an actor, screenwriter, choreographer, lyricist, author, producer and academic.
To perfect his trade, Lipton took classes with Harold Clurman and Robert Lewis and studied film and TV production and direction at New York University and The New School.
Lipton also had regular appearances as an actor in the comedy Arrested Development. Other credits as an actor include roles in Bewitched, Guiding Light, The Goldbergs, Cold Squad, You Are There and even was the voice for the Disney movie, Bolt.