James Lipton, the iconic host of Inside the Actors Studio for 22 seasons, has passed away at the age of 93. According to TMZ, Mr. Lipton died on Monday, March 2nd at his home in New York City after a battle with bladder cancer.
“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,” said Lipton’s wife, Kedakai Turner.
James Lipton was 'every actor's dream interview': Stars react to his death https://t.co/ewIP4AqI4B
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) March 3, 2020
The TV writer was the Dean Emeritus of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University in New York City, and he was best known for launching the famous talk show Inside the Actors Studio where he interviewed some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry about the acting craft.
The show began in 1994, and it was filmed in front of a live audience filled with aspiring actors, writers, producers, and directors. It became a pop culture staple thanks to Lipton’s probing questions and his respect for the profession.
Lipton retired from the series in 2018 after more than 250 episodes, but it continues to this day with other hosts. He interviewed major A-listers, such as Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Gwyneth Paltrow, Al Pacino, Jeff Bridges, Morgan Freeman, Faye Dunaway, Betty White, and Whoopi Goldberg.
He once revealed that one of his favorite interviews was with Bradley Cooper because it was emotional, as Cooper was a former Actors Studio student and Lipton enjoyed seeing him achieve such success.
Lipton’s writing credits included shows like Capitol, Another World, The Best of Everything, Return to Peyton Place, and The Doctors. He also had some acting credits on his resume, including the role of Warden Stefan Gentles on Arrested Development, as well as parts on Bewitched, Guiding Light, and The Goldbergs.
Lipton also got an extra fame boost when Will Ferrell did an impression of him on Saturday Night Live in the early 2000s that turned into a staple character on the show.
James Lipton told TMZ in 2015 that no one had ever turned down a request to be interviewed on Inside the Actors Studio, and the response to his passing makes it clear he was well-loved.
“Every actor’s dream interview. Rest peacefully, sir. #jameslipton,” said This Is Us star Susan Kelechi Watson in her Instagram story. “I dreamed of one day being interviewed by you,” added the actress on Twitter.
— Jim Billings (@mediajim) March 3, 2020
Jeff Daniels tweeted that Lipton made you want to tell him everything. And, Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen called Lipton the “face of Bravo,” and a “warm, meticulous man with a great appreciation of the arts and wicked sense of humor.”
Cohen added that if you were able to get booked on Lipton’s show, that meant you had made it.
At the end of every interview, James Lipton would ask: “If heaven exists, what would you like to hear St. Peter say when you arrive at the pearly gates?” Today, many fans on Twitter are wondering what Lipton’s answer would be to that question.
Rest in peace, James Lipton.