James Lipton, most well known for hosting "Inside The Actors' Studio," recently revealed that he used to be a pimp in 1950s Paris. Although the soft-spoken actor didn't put the crude profession in such lewd terms, he explained that his involvement in the industry came because of dire circumstances.
James Lipton was being interviewed by Parade magazine because of his show's 250th episode. It was then that he explained the state of Paris, France after World War II and the circumstances that led him to one of the world's oldest professions.
"It was only a few years after the war. Paris was different then, still poor. Men couldn't get jobs and … the women couldn't get work at all," he told Parade. Lipton had run out of money and meant to go back to America, but Regine, a friend of his, arranged for him to become a pimp, which came with a certain amount of danger.
"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," he said.
Regine allowed Lipton to become her macquereau-French for mackerel- which is far different than the pimps of today. The 86-year-old said the entire notion was different, as the women were given medical checkups weekly, and the women were less exploited.
"A pimp exploits and abuses the women who work for him," Lipton explained. "A macquereau does nothing of that sort. I'm talking about then. The macquereau works for the women. … He's an agent, so to speak."
Althought Lipton participated in the lewd business for some time, he doesn't believe people should participate in prostitution.
"I really don't," he answered when asked if people should pay for sex. "If you can't earn it on your own, then you don't deserve it."
In addition to hosting "Inside the Actors' Studio," Lipton is Dean Emeritus at the Actors Studio Drama School and has no intention of retiring. He also appears in the latest season of "Arrested Development," which can be found exclusively on Netflix.