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James Lipton: I Used to Be a Pimp

James Lipton: I Used to Be a Pimp


James Lipton, the longtime host of “Inside the Actors Studio,” reveals in an interview with Parade that he used to be a pimp. He ran a bordello in France during the 1950s, blaming the country’s poor post-war economy for the 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…

“[One of the prostitutes and I] became great friends. When I ran 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 I lived. I was going through my rites of passage, no question about it. It was a great year of my life.”

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