James Lipton, longtime host of Inside the Actor’s Studio, dies

March 19, 2020

Obituaries

James Lipton, who hosted the Inside the Actors Studio on the Bravo channel for 23 seasons, has died. He was 93.

Lipton interviewed about 275 actors, writers and directors. In the first season alone his guests included Paul Newman, Alec Baldwin, Neil Simon, Sally Field, Dennis Hopper and Sidney Lumet. His later years included one-on-ones with Robert Downey Jr., Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper.

The show was nominated for 21 Primetime Emmys during Lipton’s years as host—he left before the show moved to Ovation TV in 2019—and he received a Lifetime Achievement award from the Daytime Emmys in 2007.

On the 200th episode of the show, this son of Jewish parents professed to be an atheist.

Lipton died Monday, March 2 at his home in Manhattan of bladder cancer, the New York Times reported, citing his wife, Kedakai Mercedes Lipton.

He became associated with the Actors Studio, a membership organization in New York City for professional actors, theater directors and playwrights best known for its work refining and teaching method acting, in 1992 when he was invited to observe a session. He came up with the idea of taping the sessions as seminars for the New School’s drama students. But he also recognized the potential for marketing and made the connection with Bravo, according to the Times.

Lipton was a professional actor, including a decade on the soap opera Guiding Light as Dr. Dick Grant. He has written scripts for soap operas, a novel and a made-for-television movie.

He was frequently mocked by Will Ferrell on Saturday Night Live, and a cartoon version of Lipton was murdered on The Simpsons. He voiced himself on the episode. (JTA)

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