James Lipton, who hosted Inside the Actors Studio from 1994-2018, died on Monday from bladder cancer. He was 93 years old. “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,” his wife Kedakai Turner told TMZ.
In his decades of hosting the Bravo series, Lipton discussed the craft of acting with basically every famous person on the planet, including many Oscar and Emmy winners. (The Robin Williams and Simpsons cast episodes are personal favorites.) His one-on-one interview style — “he kept the discussion on an intellectual plane,” as the New York Times put it — was so distinctive that Will Ferrell parodied him on SNL; when asked about the impression, Lipton said, “I love it. It’s very flattering. I think he’s got me cold.”
Conceived by Lipton in 1994, Inside the Actors Studio was created to serve as a thinly disguised master class for the students of the Actors Studio Drama School, a joint venture of the Actors Studio and The New School. With Paul Newman as its initial guest, each one-hour program featured a top performer in an intimate and in-depth one-on-one interview with Lipton. (Via)
Lipton’s career began in the 1950s, when he booked roles in Pulitzer Prize Playhouse, Armstrong Circle Theatre, and CBS Television Workshop, and found success as the head writer for soap opera Guiding Light. Years later, following the success of Inside the Actors Studio, he played himself on Arrested Development, Glee, and Family Guy.