Thanks to his hosting gig on ‘Inside the Actors Studio,’ James Lipton is a household name, albeit one who is of thought of as imperious and pompous.
Here’s the truth–he’s actually a kind, sweet and gentle guy. It’s the voice, which truly is commanding yet mellifluous, that makes him seem so haughty and pedantic.
I’ve seen James, or Jimmy as his friends call him, up close and personal at many events and private get-togethers and he’s always absolutely lovely. He’s also funny and spirited. Who knew?
Think more like his character on ‘Arrested Development’ (though not evil) and MUCH less puffed-up interviewer, as spoofed by comedian Will Ferrell. Actually, the multi-talented Lipton thinks Will’s impression is hilarious and is humbled by the homage.
James and his wife, Kedakai, were the first two notables I ran into at Grand Prix day at the Hampton Classic this past Sunday. They were walking out of the VIP tent to stroll through the grounds with the rest of the regular folk when I espied them. We talked briefly of our mutual friends before they happily posed for a photo.
In May the world was shocked when James, a Chevalier of France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, revealed that he had once been a Parisian pimp. That was surprising, to say the least, but I’m just baffled that he’s 86 years old. Go Jimmy!
Here’s another interesting tidbit: Kedakai, his wife of the last four decades, was the original Miss Scarlett in the game of Clue. For those whose memories of the awesome board game might be hazy, she’s the femme fatale with the long dark hair, cigarette holder and black dress.