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'Inside the Actors Studio' Host James Lipton Reveals His Life as a Paris Pimp

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 29, 2013 at 4:06PM

As he made the promo circuit ostensibly to hype the 250th episode of his series "Inside the Actors Studio" on May 29, James Lipton gave an explosive interview to Parade Magazine. The often sycophantic interviewer went into frank detail about his former life as a pimp in 1950s Paris. Apparently, he has no regrets about his youthful employment.
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James Lipton
James Lipton

As he made the promo circuit ostensibly to hype the 250th episode of his series "Inside the Actors Studio" on May 29,  James Lipton gave an explosive interview to Parade Magazine. The often sycophantic interviewer went into frank detail about his former life as a pimp in 1950s Paris. Apparently, he has no regrets about his youthful employment.

Quotes:

“I had to be okayed by the underworld, otherwise they would’ve found me floating in the Seine."

“It was only a few years after the war. Paris was different then, still poor. Men couldn’t get jobs and, in the male chauvinist Paris of that time, the women couldn’t get work at all. It was perfectly respectable for them to go into le milieu.”

“The great bordellos were still flourishing in those days … I did a roaring business.”

 “The French mecs didn’t exploit women. They represented them, like agents. And they took a cut. That’s how I lived.”

“I was going through my rites of passage, no question about it. It was a great year of my life."

This article is related to: Television


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.