James Lipton, the 86-year-old host of the popular celebrity interview show "Inside The Actors Studio," recalls in a recent interview how he used to work as a pimp in Paris.
The TV personality has talked about his life in the French capital before -- in the press, in his memoir, "Inside Inside" and even on his Bravo show -- while interviewing Julia Roberts. He was born in Detroit, served time in the Air Force and lived in Paris in the 1950s before he studied law and acting in New York.
In his latest comments, Lipton described to Parade magazine in a May 28 interview how the city 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]," he said.
He also said he represented a "whole bordello" of sex workers, adding: 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 told Parade magazine in his newest interview that he does not think people should pay for sex. "I think if you can't earn it on your own, then you don't deserve it," he said.
Check out 3 previous comments James Lipton has made about working as a pimp:
- 1. "Inside The Actor's Studio" interview with Julia Roberts (1996)
In 1996, Lipton interviewed Julia Roberts, who rose to fame after playing a prostitute in the 1990 film "Pretty Woman." She and the student audience cracked up laughing when he began to recall his experiences with sex workers in France.
"The whores that I knew in Paris ? were the most business-like people I ever knew," he said. "The one thing that they very seldom did on the job was enjoy themselves."
2. James Lipton's memoir, "Inside Inside" (2007)
In his book, Lipton describes how he developed a relationship with a prostitute named Regine. He said that prostitution, dubbed "the milieu," was legal and regulated in France. At one point, he had almost maxed out his finances and Regine suggested to him that he become her "mec."
"Jeem ... don't you see? This way you'll be able to stay in Paris," he quoted her as saying.
He supervised sexual encounters between her and her clients and acted as a "producer." The milieu," he said, "afforded a reprieve when I needed it."
Lipton also said that he decided to write about his experience because he was "outed" over it by "Gypsy" playwright Arthur Laurents in his own memoir, "Original Story By," which was published in 2000. Laurents, who died in 2011, wrote in the book that "Jimmy Lipton," worked as a "sex guide in Paris" and described an "exhibition," or live sexual performance, he attended that he says Lipton had arranged.
3. New York Magazine interview (2007)
Lipton was asked by the outlet if he really was a pimp in Paris.
"I was," he said. "It came up once when I interviewed Julia Roberts, so I had to set the record straight."