R.I.P. James Lipton, Host of Inside the Actors Studio Dead at 93

Lipton stepped down as the show's host in 2018

James Lipton, photo via Bravo
James Lipton, photo via Bravo

James Lipton, the longtime host of Inside the Actors Studio, has died at the age of 93.

According to TMZ, Lipton passed away Monday (March 2nd) at his home. His widow, Kedakai Turner, told the outlet he had been battling 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,” Turner said in a statement.

Lipton hosted the Hollywood Q&A program Inside the Actors Studio on Bravo from 1994 to 2018. Originally conceived as a course for the New School’s Actors Studio Drama, it spun out into a beloved interview series even as it remained housed at the New York City university.

During his tenure on the show, he interviewed countless entertainment luminaries, including Tom Hanks, Viola Davis, Meryl Streep, Robin Williams, George Clooney, Dave Chappelle, and even the animated cast of The Simpsons.

One of Lipton’s personal favorite guests was Bradley Cooper, who appeared on the program in 2011. While the interview itself had its emotional moments, the reason it topped Lipton’s list was because Cooper had been one of his students a decade prior. The future A Star is Born actor actually appeared on a 1999 episode featuring Sean Penn; from the audience, Cooper asked Penn about bringing a character he’d previously played on the stage to the screen.

Lipton appeared in over 250 episodes of Inside the Actors Studio before retiring in 2018. With Lipton at the helm (he also wrote and executive produced), the program garnered 20 Emmy nominations, winning Outstanding Informational Series or Special in 2013. Though the show continues on Ovation TV, it now features rotating guest hosts.

Prior to his career in academia and Inside the Actors Studio, Lipton started out as a soap opera actor and writer, appearing in Guiding Light and penning Another World, The Best of Everything, and The Doctors. He would later appear as himself in the film adaptation of Bewitched, and had a recurring role as Warden Stefan Gentles on Arrested Development.

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