James Lipton, the iconic longtime host of Inside the Actors Studio, died Monday morning at his New York City home, his wife tells TMZ. The 93-year-old had been fighting bladder cancer. "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," she says. Lipton developed a three-year educational curriculum for performers in the 1990s, and ultimately ended up implementing it at New York's Actors Studio, which was in danger of shuttering at the time, per the Hollywood Reporter. Lipton ended up the dean of the Actors Studio Drama School, and designed a series of master classes featuring sit-downs with top-tier actors, with him serving as interviewer though he had no training as such. He did, however, have vast experience in showbiz himself.
"I sent word back into the community from which I had come, and where I was known and knew people," he once recalled of Inside the Actors Studio's origins, "and said, 'These people are liable to say something worth preserving. That requires television. Anybody interested?' Bravo was." Starting in 1994, the show aired on Bravo for 22 seasons with Lipton at its helm; he retired in 2018 after nearly 300 interviews, but the show lives on, moving its 23rd season to Ovation TV with a rotating panel of guests hosting it. Lipton's own acting career was rejuvenated as he became well-known and loved for his interviewing gig; in particular, his love of words and distinctive style of delivery. Lipton himself praised Will Ferrell's spot-on imitation of him on many Saturday Night Live sketches. See THR for much more on the interesting life he led pre-Actors Studio. (Read more James Lipton stories.)