Longtime TV writer and “Inside the Actors Studio” host James Lipton has died. He was 93.
Lipton’s peaceful death was confirmed to TMZ on Monday morning by his wife, Kedakai Turner.
“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,” she said.
Lipton, who was the dean emeritus of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University, retired from the Emmy-winning “Inside the Actors Studio” in 2018 after hosting it for 24 years.
Starting with his first guest, Paul Newman, the Bravo and Ovation TV network show featured a bookish Lipton asking nearly 300 actors thoughtful questions, which he drafted on index cards. Actors on the show, from award winners to lesser-known artists, shared the technical methods behind their craft with Lipton and his audience.
“I made a vow early on that we would not deal in gossip — only in craft,” Lipton told the Hollywood Reporter in 2018 upon his retirement.
For the show’s 200th episode in 2008, he switched roles, selecting Dave Chappelle to interview him.
Throughout his career leading the show, he interviewed stars from A-listers like Ben Affleck, Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow to longtime actors like Al Pacino, Jane Fonda, Ian McKellen and Gene Wilder.
Lipton often gave students in the live audience a chance to ask questions of the actors themselves — notably, when Bradley Cooper was a student, he was picked to ask a question of Sean Penn. Cooper later went on to sit in the guest chair in 2011, according to TMZ.
In addition to hosting the show, he wrote for TV, including shows such as “Capitol,” “Return to Peyton Place” and “Another World.” He appeared on shows too, including “Arrested Development,” “Glee” and “Bewitched.” He also made his mark as an author, choreographer and producer for both stage and TV.