James Lipton, ‘Inside the Actors Studio’ creator and longtime host, dies aged 93

‘Inside the Actors Studio’ has had many iconic moments; Ben Kingsley cried while speaking of his mother’s death. Jack Lemmon revealed his alcoholism. Sally Field suggested Lipton had read her diary


                            James Lipton, ‘Inside the Actors Studio’ creator and longtime host, dies aged 93
James Lipton (Getty Images)

James Lipton, who created, hosted, and executive produced the Bravo series ‘Inside the Actors Studio’, and served as dean of the Actors Studio Drama School at New York City’s Pace University died at the age of 93 according to news reports Monday. His wife Kedakai Mercedes Lipton said the cause of death was bladder cancer.

Lipton was born on September 19, 1926, in Detroit. He was the only child of Lawrence Lipton, a noted Beat poet, and Elizabeth (Weinberg) Lipton, a teacher. His first professional acting job came along in the 1940s. On the live radio program ‘The Lone Ranger’, he was cast as the voice of Dan Reid, nephew of that Western’s titular character. 

Lipton has shared 18 Emmy nominations for ‘Inside the Actors Studio’ with his fellow producers (he won one in 2013). He received a lifetime achievement award from the Daytime Emmys in 2007 and shared a nomination for best writing in a drama in 1974 for ‘The Doctors’.

According to the New York Times, Lipton’s association with the Actors Studio began in 1992, when he was invited to observe a session of that storied and exclusive workshop for actors, writers and directors.

‘Inside the Actors Studio’ has had many iconic moments. Per the NYT, Ben Kingsley cried while speaking of his mother’s death. Jack Lemmon revealed his alcoholism. Sally Field suggested Lipton had read her diary. Julia Roberts asked whether he had called her mother.

Speaking about the show to The Hollywood Reporter in 2016, Lipton said, “If you had put a gun to my head and said, ‘I will pull the trigger unless you predict that in 23 years, ‘Inside the Actors Studio’ will be viewed in 94 million homes in America on Bravo and in 125 countries around the world, that it will have received 16 Emmy nominations, making it the fifth most-nominated series in the history of television, that it will have received an Emmy Award for outstanding informational series and that you will have received the Critics' Choice Award for best reality series host — predict it or die,’ I would have said, ‘Pull the trigger’.”

Lipton’s memoir ‘Inside Inside’ was published in October 2007. Author Jay McInerney wrote: “With all due respect to the actors and actresses he has famously interviewed, James Lipton is as interesting a character as any of them. Happily, he has the wit, erudition, and storytelling skills to do justice to his own amazing story.”

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