Why Did James Lipton Work for a Bordello?

Why Did James Lipton Work for a Bordello?

The #ActorsStudio host looks back on his younger days in Paris.

By Laura Rosenfeld

We still can't get over the fact that James Lipton once worked as a pimp after he found himself in Paris following a movie shoot in Greece in the 1950s. And apparently we're not alone.

Andy Cohen asked James to set the record straight about how he ended up working in a bordello in the first place during his appearance on Watch What Happens Live Tuesday. "I wanted to stay in Paris," the Inside the Actors Studio host said (clip above). "I was going through my rites de passage, but I had no money. I couldn't work, couldn't get a green card. Not in those days. Nobody could get a green card." 

So what's a starving artist like James to do? Become a mec (which is essentially a pimp), apparently. "Other people sidled up to the tourists and would say, 'Would you like a private tour of the Eiffel Tower? Would you like a private tour of the Louvre?' And I would say to them, 'Would you like to see a sex show?'" James explained. "And then if they said yes, I would take them that evening to the Rue Pigalle, and I had a very, very, very good friend [Régine] who worked for the Bordello and she would select another woman or a man, et cetera." 

But the whole scene was probably not as seedy as you're thinking. "I did it because I wanted to live in Paris, and it was the only way I could. And I must say it was a very different world, very, very different," James said. "It was all heavily regulated and my friend Régine was a great, great, great friend." 

Considering the fact that Inside the Actors Studio earned its 19th Emmy nomination in July, we have to say that James definitely made a smart career move. 

See James' Emmy-worthy work in action, below.

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