Don’t be afraid of your past because it can be used to become a trending topic if it’s something intriguing like James Lipton.
The longtime host of Inside the Actors Studio has been a favorite of thespians, celebrated comedians and all-around active actors for quite some time. He has given his audience and students brief glimpses into his own life, but usually leaves the spotlight open for his subject’s to express themselves and their history to the public.
In an interview with Parade, Lipton, a humble man at the heart of it all, revealed that he used to be a pimp. Yes, a pimp! Not the Huggy Bear type either. According to him, the acclaimed host used to run a bordello in France during the 1950s, and blamed the country’s poor post-war economy for his temporary career choice.
“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…”
If you’re unsure what “le milieu” is, use your Google Translator to learn the secret. “[One of the prostitutes and I] became great friends. When I ra out of money, I said, ‘I have to go home.’ She said, ‘No, you don’t. I’ll arrange for you.’ So she arranged for me to do it. I had to be okayed by the underworld; otherwise they would’ve found me floating in the Seine … I represented them a [whole bordello], but her especially. I did a roaring business, and I was able to live for a year. The French mecs didn’t exploit women. They represented them, like agents. And they took a cut.”
That’s how James Lipton lived and spent his time during the ’50s. He called it a “rites of passage,” and no doubt that is quite a way to earn a rep. But what would you say if someone were to try that now in 2013?