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James Lipton

A Bloomin' Miracle

James Lipton prepares for a promising Spring.

April 6, 2009

It’s that most promising time of year. At last. And, given the global stresses of the past few months, not a moment too soon.

My wife and I live in a town house on the upper east side of Manhattan. Yes, we know how lucky we are. And, if you’ve read my book “Inside Inside,” you know how far I’ve come, and how many reasons I have to be grateful for this urban bounty.

I mention our house because this is the season when a miracle happens there.

To digress (but not really), one of the facts of my life is that it takes me two weeks to prepare the hundreds of blue cards with which I await each guest. That’s two weeks, seven days a week, twelve or more hours a day, without exception and with only two days off, Christmas and New Year’s, from the moment the school-year begins in September until it ends in June.

Inside the Actors Studio and my life are bounded by the school-year because, as you know if you watch the show or have read its history in “Inside Inside,” what you see on your screen at home is a classroom in the Actors Studio Drama School of Pace University, of which I was the founding dean.

The result of that timetable is a life I wouldn’t trade with anyone in the world: I prize the school, its students and our show, which takes us into 89,000,000 homes on Bravo in America and 125 countries around the world. But sometimes the schedule and its deadlines can be daunting.

Which brings me – and you, if you’ve stuck with me this far – back on the track of the miracle I mentioned a few paragraphs ago.

The twelve or so hours devoted each day to preparing for my next guest are spent in my study on the second of our house’s four floors. The study is a large, wood-paneled room with a marble fireplace and very tall ceilings. And best of all, it’s quiet because, though our environment is mostly townhouses and therefore surprisingly peaceful for a city street, my study, facing the garden, is utterly, blissfully silent.

In Chapter Seventeen of “Inside Inside,” when I offer the reader several pages of the best (and unbleeped) answers to the Pivot Questionnaire with which I conclude every episode of Inside the Actors Studio, I reveal (finally) my own answers. And my response to “What is your favorite sound?” is, “The most underrated quality of contemporary life: silence.”

I suspect that that answer is prompted by the fact that I’m a writer, and for every writer, alone with his or her coy, elusive muse, distracting sounds are the enemy, and deep, velvety, enveloping silence is the friend.

Comments

30 Comments

Please tell me when your show will be aired again as my wife and I try to never miss an episode. We really enjoy your interaction with your famous guests. Larry Lee

Mr Lipton. For so many years I have eagerly opened the TV guide to search frantically for a further episode of "The Actors Studio". Now in my 75th year I get upset each and every week when my efforts seem doomed. Are there going to be more episodes of TAS or are my hopes to be shattered once more this weekend?
What can the viewing public look forward to in the future?
If it is negative, please let us down gently?
A super fan who has never ever missed an episode.

Hi there, greetings from Monterrey, Mexico.
I guess you get this asked everyday, so you may already have a set answer for it:
Where or how can I see some episodes that I can´t find online? I frequently go to youtube.com, but I can´t find these:
JULIA ROBERTS
KATHY BATES
CHARLIZE THERON
SALLY FIELD
And many more, plus I was wondering if you had plans to interview these great stars:
DENZEL WASHINGTON
SEAN CONNERY
JACKIE CHAN
GARY OLDMAN
JOHN MALKOVICH
I found in wikipedia a complete list of your guests, and to tell you the truth I don´t how many months it´s going to take me to see all those episodes, but I can´t wait to start.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read my commment.

Rudy.

9-7-09

Wonderful,Wonderful show Mr. Lipton. This is in reference to Jason Bateman. Because I knew his parents, Kent & Vicki in the early 70's (having been engaged to his Uncle, John I'Anson), I wonder why after having been on all of Jason's web pages, there is not one picture of his parents. I pulled out old pictures of us with Jason & Justine and the Grandparents at Xmas and in the snow. Very cute and young. Vicki was a very,very pretty woman. I realize all has not been friendly, but, was curious how they looked today. It would be nice to see some old family photos. Regards to you and to Jason & Justine.

Sincerely,
Louise McFaddin

Enjoy your show.

BUT

could you please interview Geoffrey Rush, I am a real "Rushie" fan. He is so interesting. You would make the RUSHIES very happy.

Thank you for all your work
Dianne

Just finished reading you book and found it very interesting as well as entertaining.Thanks for the read......Saw another poster mention Harry Dean Stanton.How do you contact him? Years ago when I was small, his mother(Goldie)attended a family reunion.Do the names Neal (Cornelius) and Kathryn (Kate) Wilson mean anything to you ? Never met him(Harry) myself,but my Aunt Ruth had contact w/his mother. HEY HARRY, we're related thru the Wilsons. My dad,Russell, and his younger bro.,Cornelius Jr.,and you all look alot alike.Daddy always enjoyed pointing you out in your roles. My daughter once wrote a paper on you for her English class and we tried to contact you thru your agent. But she never received any word. They were to write to a living person they admired and interview them. Oh well. But you definitely have Wilson genes (looks and musical talent).

Mr. Lipton,

I am enthralled by your show. The research you perform prior to your interview is so incredibly thorough you often seem to put the guests on edge with how in depth you have gone into their history. Additionally, you always seem to be genuinely eager to hear the response as if you were a child patiently waiting for his parents to wake up on Christmas morning so the present opening can begin. In answer to question number 8, I would like to attempt your job. However, I realize no one can do it better so I selfishly hope that in answer to question 10 when you reach the pearly gates (deep in the future) you hear God say, "Go back, there has been a mistake, your job is unfinished" Thank you for all that you do.

Love your show! There's a question that has often occurred to me and I haven't yet heard on your show and that is - how much of each character remains with the actors or do they simply erase the characters after the end of their work.

Always lookoing forward for more shows

Having lived half my life on the east coast, and this, the second half, on the west coast in Los Angeles county, I have a different sort of relationship with spring than you have. I remember how grateful I was for a color other than grey, brown, white or black in the spring. Any hint of green...

Your interviews are the best and I await the new season anxiously. It would break my heart if there were no more Inside the Actors Studio. If there's somebody I can call or write or somehow influence, please publish the information. I know the cards you write are a lot of work, but work you love is not really 'work' at all.

Thanks for all you do.

James,

For a struggling actor without a safety net - communicating with a man that can say yes you can come study with us . . . the work is the most important thing to me. I want a chance to study with the best . . . can I meet with you . . .

I too hope your show returns soon, it is truly one of my favorties. I did not realize until recently that Bradley Cooper was a former student of the Actor's Studio. Have you considered having him as a guest? I just recently discovered him (as an actor) and did not realize everything that he has been in and would love to see him as a guest on the Actor's Studio. I hope you consider it!

I think you should consider an acting-focused interview with Quentin Tarantino, a former actor after all, when he comes out with his new one.

Mr. Lipton and BravoTV:
I admire the show like few others on TV, however I would like to say the same about its webpage. I'm still waiting to see some complete list of the previous episodes and seasons, not just the last few ones. I'm sure it is not just my idea, since after reading some of the posts I've seen that many people ask for this. We, the fans, will really appreciate it. Thank you for a wonderful and amazing show, I always look forward for more episodes. Congratulations.

James...

Three words...HARRY DEAN STANTON!

Respectfully,

Elizabeth

Mr. Lipton, is there any chance at all of getting Mel Brooks on your show?! Of all the creative minds that have been on your show, I would think he is overdue.

Just read (and generally enjoyed) Inside Inside. I'd be first in line to buy the "unexpurgated" 5-hour videos of Robin Williams or Barbra Streisand! I'd love to see some of the older reruns, with Ellen Burstyn, Sally Field and Paul Newman.

Enjoyed the Danny deVito interview very much. Thanks for bringing Rhea Perlman into the discussion.

Just watching Laura Linney on your show, and I thank you for bringing back actors who have actually learned their craft. The audience, both at the New School and tv watchers, need to see actors who have performed in an amazing and unforgettable style. I ask you, what could you learn from Eddie Murphy and Conan O'Brian?

One of my favorite interviews of all time is with Dave Chappel. That was a classic and I can watch it all day long. Everyone was real, the questions, and the answers were truthful. Please show it again this month. Can you have him back on to find out what he is doing now that he is no longer on tv?

I wanted to let Mr Lipton know just how offended I am that he chose to give any air time to that vile and disgusting Dennis Leary. I thought Mr Lipton was a man of class, kindness, etc. If no one has informed him of the things that Dennis Leary has written about Autism in his book and the foolish and pathetic explanation he has come up with I am sorry about that. I did not watch the show because anytime I see this man on my tv I quickly change the channel. No amount of time going by will erase the cruelness he displayed, he will never know the heartache of not hearing I Love You from any of his children, He must be blessed to have healthy kids. Unfortunately my grandaughter is suffering from this disorder and it is robbing her of a normal life. Sorry you gave him a second. He is pure evil.

Love your show. During your interview, I'd like you to ask your guests the following question:

"Of all of the roles that you have played, which character or characters personality, if any, is most like you own in real life?"

You are an expert at what you do, but I feel that this question will reveal a good amount of information about each actor to your audience.

dear Mr. Lipton,
I love this show I get to know there actors you have on your show, I hope you have Kiefer Sutherland back soon He was awesome on your show.

Bridget McKenna
Indian harbour beach Florida.

?????Are you people serious????? Jennifer Beal? All these accolades for a show that is the largest attempt at self- gratuitous masterbation ever performed by man in front of others. C'mon ... Seriously now, of all the ridiculous and utterly un-entertaining pieces of television manure, this show and its producer carry the most pungent odor. For the record, does any one know the number of actors who actually attended the Actors Studio that have appeared in the show? If you do, compare that number to the horrible actors that have appeared on this piece of crap. Not so congruent. And the questions being flagged by students who are paying way too much money to be trained in a feild that they will never work in - just a criminal joke. I've been slowly dis-liking Dennis Leary more and more since his glory days of NO Cure for Cancer, now after watching this non-sense, he holds zero credibility as a performer. This show is worth nothing unless you are hoping to induce some badly needed vommit.

Dear Mr. Lipton,

LOVE YOUR SHOW ... right?! I recently watched the Dave Chapelle episode (yes, it was a rerun) I loved it. You seemed so kind and truly interested in Dave and his honesty.

I have so much respect for you. No, I am not an actor and I don't wish to be an actor but we need your show, we need you and you are a very much appreciated.

All Best,
Karin

Mr. Lipton, I think Jennifer Beals deserves a seat on your stage. I am certain she will be one of the most interesting, intellegint and charming guests you will ever find. She has had an interesting and unconventional career after a big, intial splash in Flashdance, to the recent, historic L Word. I think she is fascinating in interviews, which are always too short, or lacking on the interviewer side...You and Jennifer will be magic...She is very shy, but you will no doubt garner her respect and you will be rewarded with insight of one of the most interesting and humble woman who has ever graced the screen. Do it, James. You won't be disappointed, nor will your viewers.

I second the request for an online video archive or DVD archive release. Also, I don't believe he has been on the show, but I could have missed it-- I would be very interested to see an Eric Stotlz interview. He's one of those actors that is in a million things.

A cross referneced index of the all the actors interviewed would be nice. Will further previous seasons be available for purchase? Or maybe for viewing online?
It's intriguing to see the actor's actual personalities(hopefully).
Your show is always a worthwhile one, that's always appreciated.

I love your show and have been watching it for quite sometime now. I am an indie filmmaker and would love to come and watch your show live one day. I know it is actually a class but I would love to be there live once. I pray your show continues on forever.

Dear Mr Lipton...so many good shows and such a delight ta watch and also to listen to, perfectly done with warm and great humour, and all so nice to hear anf learn from.
You make the "stars" coming more close to us merly oridinary people. Love the show more and more ...Keeping me laughing and crying but alwys pleased to have had a chance to se it all.I work as an artist and as a teacher in a primary school and your famous questions of Bernard Pivot I have often used when I need to have deep discussions with a troubelled student or if I have a new class, I use them so I can get to know them better. Thanks to you!
I´m a real film and theatre freak ..love everything, love words, and your programs are such an inspiration to both my work as an artist and as a teacher.
Looking forward for more shows...Thanks for the ones already done!
Mona Aho, Helsinki,Finland

Thank you for a wonderful show on Conan O'Brien. Never seen his show. But yours Mr. Lipton, we discovered and watch regulary.

I hope your show returns. I've really missed it!

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