LOS ANGELES – James Lipton, drama teacher and host of popular “Inside the Actors Studio” series has died, Ovation TV confirmed. He was 93 years old.
Lipton’s wife told the New York Times that the 93-year-old man died of complications from bladder cancer.
Known for creating the iconic show that would serve as a master class for future actors, Lipton hosted “Inside the Actors Studio” for 23 seasons before leaving the show when he left Bravo to switch to Ovation TV. in 2019.
The show became known as a central think tank for filmmaking, where Lipton was able to connect with writers, directors and artists who would participate in lengthy and intimate interviews and share details of their careers that they didn’t. might not have elsewhere.
The long list of talent who graced the stage to meet Lipton in front of a live audience of hopeful theater students included some of the biggest stars in cinema, such as Dennis Hopper, Robert Redford and many more.
The Detroit-born Lipton started the Bravo show in 1994 which also served as a class for his students at the Actors Studio, where he was then dean.
He would often say that his only requirement for a guest was whether he had something to teach his students. Her first guest, Paul Newman, set a celebrity standard for those who would follow, including Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Glenn Close, Steven Spielberg and Barbra Streisand.
Lipton was known, and often parodied, for his intellectual and sometimes adoring tone with his subjects, and for his intensive preparation, represented by a stack of blue index cards containing his meticulously researched questions. When Will Ferrell played Lipton on “Saturday Night Live,” the stack of cards was almost a foot thick.
Many otherwise media-shy actors were willing to appear on “Inside the Actors Studio” because Lipton focused on their art and not the usual celebrity chatter or project promotion.
FILE – James Lipton attends the 2017 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 9, 2017 in Los Angeles, California., (Photo by Jason LaVeris / FilmMagic)
“People don’t come and sell a movie and you never hear the words, ‘I’m opening in Vegas in two weeks,'” Lipton told The Associated Press in 1996, when the series was in its second. season. “That’s what most talk shows depend on, and that’s good, but with us, we’re coming together to dig as deep as possible.”
He was not afraid to get personal and often amazed those he interviewed with things he had learned about their childhood or private life.
“How did you know that?” was a frequent refrain from his guests.
“The Actors Studio Drama School mourns the loss of James Lipton, the program’s creator and dean from 1994 to 2004, Dean Emeritus from 2005 to present, as well as the original host of Inside the Actors Studio,” said Andreas Manolikakis, President of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University.
“The faculty, administration, current students, alumni and I are forever grateful for his vision, leadership, continued support and concern for the school.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story. This story was reported in Los Angeles.