James Lipton, most well known as the host of Inside the Actors Studio, has died at the age of 93.
He died from bladder cancer at his Manhattan home early Monday, his wife, Kedakai Lipton, reportedly told The Hollywood Reporter.
Early life of James Lipton
Lipton was born in Detroit, Michigan, on Sept. 19, 1926, to Lawrence, a columnist and graphic designer, and Betty, a teacher and librarian. Lipton’s parents divorced when he was six, and his father abandoned them. Lipton began work as a teenager at The Detroit Times as a copy boy and an actor for the Catholic Theater of Detroit. Following high school, he got his first significant role in a radio program playing the Lone Ranger’s nephew.
Following his time with the Air Force in World War II, Lipton had ideas of becoming a lawyer, but following some acting classes, he realized being a lawyer wasn’t his true desire.
Inside the Actors Studio
Lipton spent more than 20 years with Inside the Actors Studio after founding it in 1994. He spent these years not only as host and creator but also as a writer and executive producer.
Hosting with a serious interview style, Lipton sometimes startling his guests with how well-researched his questions were. Throughout his time with the program, he had one-on-one interviews with close to 300 people.
In 2008 Inside the Actors Studio flipped the script for the 200th interview subject, interviewing Lipton with the host of his choice, Dave Chappelle.
Lipton began Inside the Actors Studio as a craft seminar for students attending the Actors Studio Drama School. Founded the same year as Inside the Actors Studio, the Actors Studio Drama School began offering degrees in acting as a collaboration between the Actors Studio and The New School. Lipton retired as the dean of the Actors Studio Drama School in 2004, holding the title of Dean Emeritus for the remainder of his life.
He had numerous acting roles before his time with Inside the Actors Studio, but the show’s popularity led to many more roles for him. From Arrested Development to Suburgatory, he appeared on numerous television episodes, and even voice acted for the movies Bolt and Igor. His most common portrayal after his rise to popularity was as himself, however. Lipton appeared as himself on The Simpsons, Joey, Family Guy, Saturday Night Live, Celebrity Apprentice, and Glee.
His greatest achievement, according to Lipton in 2013, was marrying his second wife, Kedakai. The pair met at a ballet, and he fell in love at first sight. The couple married nine months later in 1970.