‘Inside the Actors Studio’ Host James Lipton Dies at 93
Writer, host and actor James Lipton has passed away at 93.
Ovation TV confirmed the news on Twitter, writing, “Beloved Inside the #ActorsStudio host James Lipton has died at 93. We’ll miss him dearly, but we wish him peace as he arrives at those pearly gates.”
— Ovation (@ovationtv) March 2, 2020
The former moderator of Inside the Actors Studio — he left the series in 2018 when it moved to Ovation from Bravo — was considered an academic in his field. Lipton was responsible for conceiving the Actors Studio in 1994, created under the guise of a class for Actors Studio Drama School and The New School. With each one-hour session featuring a prominent performer, Lipton would interview the guests in front of an audience of students.
Over the years, the show became one of TV’s longest-running cable series with nearly 300 guests featured. News of Lipton’s death was also shared by his wife, Kedaki Turner, to TMZ. According to the outlet, Lipton died in New York City after a battle with bladder cancer.
Born in Detroit, Michigan on September 19, 1926, Lipton first got a taste of the business in 1944 when he began voicing Dan Reid, the nephew of The Lone Ranger, in WXYZ’s radio program. After serving in the Air Force during World War II, Lipton traveled to New York City to become a lawyer but ended up taking acting classes instead.
Lipton went on to land TV roles in shows such as Guiding Light and later on made some appearances in the comedy Arrested Development. He wrote for Another World, The Best of Everything, The Doctors, Return to Payton Place, Capitol, Inside the Actors Studio and much more.
Lipton’s place in pop culture was solidified when Will Ferrell began impersonating him on Saturday Night Live. Along with being a writer, host and actor, Lipton’s other roles included lyricist, producer, scriptwriter and academic.
Among Lipton’s various Actors Studio guests were stars such as Paul Newman, Glenn Close, Robert DeNiro, Meryl Streep, Robin Williams, Jamie Foxx, James Gandolfini, Dave Chappelle, and Viola Davis. His last onscreen appearance credit was a 2019 episode of Arrested Development and Ted Danson is billed as the last guest Lipton had while hosting Actors Studio in 2018.