James Lipton often gets his guests to reveal unusual things about themselves on his show Inside the Actors Studio. But in a new interview it is the 86-year-old who reveals something startling about himself. Lipton says that in the 1950s, shortly after the war, he was a pimp in Paris.
He tells Parade.com, "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 [organized crime]."
He says it was a friend of a prostitute who got him into the business after he went broke. "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."
Lipton says there was no disgrace in being a pimp at the time "because it was completely regulated. Every week they had to be inspected medically. The great bordellos were still flourishing in those days before the sheriff of Paris, a woman, closed them down. It was a different time."
Despite his pimp past, Lipton no longer condones paying for sex, saying, "I think if you can't earn it on your own, then you don't deserve it."
I'd like to see Will Ferrell play James Lipton as a pimp.