Celebrities remember James Lipton for his 'one-of-a-kind interviews' and 'wicked sense of humor'

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

James Lipton, who interviewed Hollywood’s biggest talents about art and life on Inside the Actors Studio, has died at the age of 93.

His wife, Kedakai Turner Lipton, confirmed his death, as a result of bladder cancer, to the New York Times. The network Ovation TV, which acquired Inside the Actors Studio in 2019 after Lipton retired as host of the program 22 years after it debuted on Bravo, also shared the news, wishing him “peace as he arrives at those pearly gates,” a nod to a question he often asked his famous subjects.

“We celebrate and honor the great legacy of James Lipton. James is beloved around the world for his passion, insight, and dedication to the craft of acting,” Ovation TV said in a statement provided to Yahoo Entertainment. “With Inside the Actors Studio, James has created a long-lasting impact on the worlds of acting, storytelling and the arts. Ovation mourns his loss and offers deepest condolences to his family, friends and fans.”

Social media has been filled with tributes to the iconic interviewer, who had a way with A-listers. Not only did he have an extensive resume — appearing in films, shows and doing his own voice work, including on The Simpsons — but he became a pop culture icon, so much so that Will Ferrell did a recurring impression of him on Saturday Night Live days. (Lipton loved Ferrell’s take, saying in 2012, “We're good friends — and I think he's got me cold, the rat.”)

Andy Cohen, who worked with Lipton via Bravo and had him as a guest on Watch What Happens Live, called him a “good guy” who had “one-of-a-kind interviews” and a “wicked sense of humor.” He recalled them going to a Diana Ross concert.

Bryan Cranston, who sat down with Lipton, called him “insatiably curious and a consummate listener — two cornerstones to being a good actor.”

Piers Morgan was also among those to talk about Lipton’s famed interview style. He described him as an “absolute master of his craft” as well as “always so well prepared.”

Lipton, who was serious during his interviews, was remembered for funny bits he did on Conan. He once recited the lyrics for to Kevin Federline’s “Popozão.”

Al Jean from The Simpsons recalled an interview Lipton did with the show’s character Rainier Wolfcastle.

Donald Trump Jr. said that he became friends with Lipton after he appeared on The Apprentice in 2012 — a relationship that endured.

And Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Melissa Fumero also had a personal story, talking about the eulogy Lipton delivered for a mutual friend.

Several of the online tributes mentioned how Bradley Cooper went from being one of Lipton’s students to an interview subject. (There is old footage of Cooper asking a question to guests like Sean Penn and Robert De Niro. Both Lipton and Cooper got emotional over it when Cooper was a guest in 2011.)

Here are some more reactions on social media to the loss of Lipton:

Ovation TV will air a special block of Inside the Actors Studio in memory of Lipton on Wednesday beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET.

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