James Lipton, who hosted Bravo interview series Inside the Actor’s Studio, lost his battle with bladder cancer two days ago. He was 93.
The Detroit native moved to New York City to study acting after leaving the Air Force. He took on a number of roles since his career began in the 1950s, including actor, writer and producer. But Lipton, who studied performing arts for 12 years, was best known for his role in the creation of Inside the Actors Studio in 1994. Lipton served as host for 22 seasons and interviewed scores of world-renowned actors and directors–even musicians like Elton and Billy Joel. Other guests included Paul Newman; Steven Spielberg; and Angelina Jolie.
In his 2005 appearance on the show, Elton asked the audience to pass up a book—any book—as source material for an insta-song. He then came up with a ballad based on random lines from Peer Gynt.
Lipton named this as one of “the two most astounding improvisations in the history of Inside the Actor’s Studio. The other was Robin Williams having fun with a pink pashmina shawl.
In 1997, ”Inside” won the CableACE award for the year’s best talk show. It was nominated for 21 Primetime Emmys over the years. In 2013 it won the Emmy for outstanding informational series or special. And in 2016, Lipton won the Critics’ Choice Television Award for best reality show host.