James Lipton was a pimp in Paris — literally
James Lipton a pimp? You'd better believe it! Long before his Inside the Actors Studio days, this 86-year-old had a very different profession abroad.
Have you heard about James Lipton's pimping past? The 86-year-old decided to open up during a recent interview with Parade magazine about his former profession, as well as how he feels about prostitution today.
When asked to elaborate on his previous references to pimping in Paris in the 1950s, the Inside the Actors Studio host explained, "It was only a few years after the war. 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.”
Rusty on your French? That's "the underworld."
"Young women desperately needed money for various reasons. They were beautiful and young and extraordinary," Lipton continued, explaining that prostitution then and there wasn't as harshly criticized as we often think of it.
"There was no opprobrium 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."
Claiming he did a "roaring business" by representing a number of women, Lipton made a living for a year by pimping. But he said of his current attitude toward buying sex: "I think if you can’t earn it on your own, then you don't deserve it."
When asked about his greatest fear, Lipton recalled to Parade, "I worked with Bob Hope for 12 years. I said, 'You know, Bob, I had a nightmare last night that I was poor again. Do you ever have nightmares?’ Bob answered, 'Always.' I have money now, but it doesn’t matter. [The fear] never goes away."