Bradley Cooper, Dave Chapelle, and More

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Bradley Cooper, Dave Chapelle, and More

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James Lipton, the longtime host of Inside the Actors Studio, has died at 93 after a battle with bladder cancer. Lipton, who got his start on The Lone Ranger, was a prolific soap opera writer, television actor, and author, but he was arguably best known for Inside the Actors Studio, the television program where successful actors discuss their craft with Lipton in front of an audience of students. Lipton hosted the show for 22 seasons before he retired in 2018.

Lipton’s wife, Kedakai Turner, told TMZ, “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.” Indeed those stories are numerous–as are the stupendous interviews. We rounded up a handful of our favorites.

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper, a former student of Lipton’s who memorably asked a question of Sean Penn during Penn’s 1999 performance, returned to the show as a guest in 2011, where he grew emotional talking about the impact of the Actors Studio program on his development as an artist.

Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr. has led a remarkable life in Hollywood, which led to a remarkable interview about his rise, fall, and subsequent second rise.

Dave Chappelle

In 2006, Dave Chappelle appeared on Inside the Actors Studio right after leaving The Chappelle Show. What emerged was a memorable conversation about Chappelle’s journey to becoming a comedy icon. When Inside the Actors Studio’s 200th episode rolled around, Chappelle returned to turn the tables and interview Lipton.

The Simpsons Cast

In 2003, the entire principal cast of The Simpsons appeared on Inside the Actors Studio for a rare group interview, where they discussed the process of providing voices to the iconic series.

Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler and Lipton made comedic magic when Poehler appeared to discuss Parks and Recreation, as well as her much-beloved Saturday Night Live characters.

Julianne Moore

In 2002, Academy Award winner Julianne Moore stopped by to discuss the lifelong impact of her acting teachers, among other subjects.

Dustin Hoffman

In 2006, Hollywood legend Dustin Hoffman gave a remarkably in-depth interview about his long and varied career.

Paul Newman

You never forget your first–especially when your first is the legendary Paul Newman, who was Lipton’s first guest.

Assistant Editor
Adrienne Westenfeld is a writer and editor at Esquire, where she covers books and culture.

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