James Lipton is widely known as the creator, executive-producer, writer and host of Inside the Actors Studio, which is seen in 89 million American homes on Bravo, and around the world in 125 countries. From 1994 to the present, more than 250 actors, directors and writers have joined him in creating what many consider the definitive craft archive of our time.
The television series, which has been recognized with fourteen Emmy nominations in fourteen years, a record for primetime television nominations, is in fact a course in a master's degree program, the renowned Actors Studio Drama School of Pace University (www.Pace.edu/actorsstudiomfa), which was created fifteen years ago by Mr. Lipton as a vice-president of the Actors Studio, in collaboration with his Studio colleagues, and which, with Mr. Lipton as its founding dean, became the largest graduate drama school in America.
Just as each of his distinguished guests brings to Inside the Actors Studio a lifetime of experience to be shared with the school's students, Mr. Lipton brings to the series and the school his experience as actor, director and producer in theater, film and television, choreographer, playwright, lyricist, screenwriter, author of both fiction and non-fiction, and academician.
More than ten years of his life were spent in the classroom as a student of three of the acknowledged masters of the theatrical arts, Stella Adler, Harold Clurman and Robert Lewis. He was trained in modern dance and ballet by Hanya Holm and Alwin Nikolais, and in ballet by Ella Daganova and Benjamin Harkarvy. His voice teachers were Eva Gauthier and Arthur Lessac.
His acting career began on Broadway in "The Autumn Garden" by Lillian Hellman,and extended to a wide variety of roles in film and television.
Bringing all the disciplines in which he was trained to his career as a producer, he has been responsible as writer and executive-producer for some of television's most celebrated specials, among them Jimmy Carter's Inaugural Gala, the first Presidential concert ever televised, and the first television special to originate in the Kennedy Center; 12 Bob Hope Birthday Specials, reaching record-breaking audiences; and The Road to China, the first American entertainment program from the People's Republic, which aired for three hours on NBC.
He was the writer and producer of Mirrors, adapted by him from his novel, which appeared on NBC; and he created the story and teleplay for Copacabana, which was chosen by TV Guide as one of the year's ten best TV films.
On Broadway, Mr. Lipton wrote the book and lyrics of two musicals, Nowhere to Go but Up, and Sherry!, which was based on Kaufman and Hart's The Man Who Came to Dinner. In 2005, he revisited Sherry!, producing a cast album for Angel Records, starring Nathan Lane, Bernadette Peters, Carol Burnett, Tommy Tune and Mike Myers. Also on Broadway, he produced The Mighty Gents, starring Morgan Freeman, and Monteith and Rand, which Dennis Cunningham of WCBS TV called "the comic event of the season."