James Lipton, Pimp? It’s True, He Says
James Lipton has dropped quite a bombshell on us with the new Parade interview; apparently, the “Inside the Actors Studio” host was a pimp in 1950’s Paris.
“It was only a few years after the war,” Lipton said. “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 [prostitution].”
The 86-year old–who has recently shown up on the new “Arrested Development” episodes on Netflix– says everything had to be done a certain way for him to stay safe. After befriending a young prostitute, she arranged for him to take a job as pimp in order to stay in Paris.
“We became great friends. When I ran out of money, I said, ‘I have to go home.’ She said, ‘No, you don’t. I’ll arrange for you.’ So she arranged for me to do it. I had to be okayed by the underworld; otherwise they would’ve found me floating in the Seine,” he said. “I represented them all, but her especially. I did a roaring business, and I was able to live for a year. 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.”
Lipton, who began acting after he spent time in the Air Force, said he originally had other career aspirations in mind.
“I was going to be a lawyer because that was as far away from my father’s lunacy that I could imagine. He was nuts. He abandoned us. I was afraid of being like that.”