‘Inside the Actors Studio’ host James Lipton dies at 93

James Lipton

FILE – This Sept. 9, 2017 file photo shows James Lipton at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. Lipton died Monday, March 2, 2020, of bladder cancer at his New York home, his wife, Kedakai Lipton, told the New York Times and the Hollywood Reporter. He was 93. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — National treasure James Lipton, host of long-running “Inside the Actors Studio,” died on Monday at the age of 93 in his New York home from bladder cancer.

James Lipton, longtime host of “Inside the Actors Studio,” died Monday, his wife said.

Lipton hosted “Inside the Actors Studio” for over 20 years and over 200 episodes. From Pace University, he interviewed legendary actors like Paul Newman, Meryl Streep, Barbara Streisand, and Robert De Niro. Lipton gave famous actors a venue to promote their projects while teaching the craft to student actors.

The actor-turned-academic became an unlikely talk show host and celebrity when he began the show in 1994 that also served as a class for his students at the Actors Studio at Pace, where he was dean.

Lipton said his favorite guest on the show was Bradley Cooper, because he was a former student.

“The night that one of my students has achieved so much that he or she comes back and sits down in that chair would be the night that I have waited for since we started this thing,” Lipton told Larry King in 2016. “It turned out to be Bradley Cooper.”

Lipton and Cooper, who can be seen asking Sean Penn a question in a 1999 episode of the show, both teared up when he returned as a guest in 2011.

Before rising to prominence as a TV host, Lipton was a prolific writer for stage and screen. He was the head writer for “Peyton Place” for three years and over 400 episodes.

Born in Detroit, Lipton enjoyed success in cameo and guest roles as an actor once “Inside the Actors Studio” became an established pop culture fixture on Bravo TV. Perhaps his best-known role, and last before his death, was in “Arrested Development” as a prison warden.

Lipton was also parodied on Saturday Night Live by Will Ferrell, who emulated his venerable intonation and read familiar interview questions from a massive stack of blue index cards.


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