“Inside the Actors Studio” host and veteran TV writer James Lipton has died … TMZ has learned.
Lipton passed away peacefully Monday morning at his New York City home. His wife, Kedakai Turner, tells TMZ James had been battling bladder cancer. She adds, “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.”
The man had a storied career in and around television and film. Of course, he served as the Dean Emeritus of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University in NYC for several years. And, he was responsible for spearheading his famous talk show, “Inside the Actors Studio” — James interviewed actors, big and small, to pick their brains about the craft.
It was filmed in front of a live audience full of student actors, some of whom got a chance to ask questions from time to time. He started the show in 1994 and finally retired in 2018 after 22 seasons. The program continues to this day, however, with other hosts.
Lipton has interviewed stars like Ben Affleck, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, Morgan Freeman, Ian McKellen, Eddie Murphy, Faye Dunaway, Robert Duvall, Ron Howard, Anthony Hopkins, Jim Carrey, Al Pacino, Gwyneth Paltrow, Willem Dafoe, Brad Pitt, Henry Winkler, Betty White, Naomi Watts, Chris Rock, Whoopi Goldberg, Hugh Grant and on and on and on.
One of Lipton’s more memorable guests was Bradley Cooper, who was once an Actors Studio student, and asked a pretty good question to Sean Penn about revisiting a character he’d played before. He asked that in 1999 and returned as the interviewed guest in 2011.
Lipton said it was one of his favorite interviews because it was so emotional and great to see one of his students make it big. He appeared on more than 250 episodes.
He had other claims to fame as well — perhaps most notably, his many TV head writing credits on shows like “Capitol,” “Return to Peyton Place,” “The Doctors,” “The Best of Everything,” “Another World” and several TV specials he contributed to as a writer.
JL also had regular appearances as an actor on “Arrested Development,” playing Warden Stefan Gentles … the bumbling lawman who aspired to be a big shot screenwriter and was kinda obsessed with the Bluth family.
His other acting credits included roles on “Bewitched,” “Guiding Light,” “The Goldbergs,” “Cold Squad,” “You Are There,” and even offering up his voice talents to the Disney movie “Bolt.” Lipton also went down in ‘SNL’ history for Will Ferrell‘s regular spoof portrayal, which was a staple character on the show in the 2000s.
We last got him on camera in 2015 talking about any possible snubs he might have received over the years. Turns out, no one ever turned him down for ‘ITAS.’ Go figure.
Lipton was 93.
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