It is with a heavy heart that I report the passing of James Lipton, the creator, executive producer and longtime host of Bravo’s interview series Inside the Actors Studio. News of Lipton’s death broke early Monday afternoon, when Lipton’s wife, Kedakai Mercedes Lipton, announced that the Hollywood icon had died of bladder cancer in his Manhattan home. He was 93.
During his Inside the Actors Studio tenure, Lipton has interviewed upward of 300 actors from 1994 until his 2018 retirement from the in-depth interview program. Known for conducting extensive research related to his guests, Lipton’s interviews provided keen insight into the personalities of those he interviewed, often resulting in celebrities being shocked when the host would dig deep into unexpected subjects. Though he was notorious for getting down the nitty gritty, guests of Lipton’s interview series often regarded him as a warm an inquisitive presence, saying that his inquires always came from a place of genuine interest as opposed to an attempt at “gotcha journalism.”
“I made a vow early on that we would not deal in gossip — only in craft,” Lipton said upon the announcement of his retirement.
Lipton announced his retirement from the Inside the Actors Studio in 2018, a move that aligned with the show’s 2019 transfer from Bravo to Ovation TV. The show is still active to this day — serving as part of the master’s degree program at the Actors Studio Drama School of Pace University — and now features a rotating lineup of guest hosts.
“James Lipton was a great writer and actor, a great interviewer, and, most important, a great teacher. He was a revered leader of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University, and we are all deeply saddened by this loss. We send our condolences to his wife, Kedakai, and we know that his legacy will live on in the generations of actors he inspired,” said Pace University President Marvin Krislov in a statement.
Those who enjoyed Lipton’s take on investigating Hollywood’s most celebrated players are sure to mourn his passing, as will those who continue to study his meticulous approach toward finding out what makes the greatest actors of our time tick, both inside and out.