James Lipton is an American writer, composer, actor, and the founding Dean Emeritus of the Actors Studio Drama School in New York City. He is the executive producer, writer, and host of the Bravo cable television series "Inside the Actors Studio," which debuted in 1994. His credits as an actor include a ten-year role as Dr. Dick Grant on CBS's "Guiding Light" and recurring guest appearances as Warden Stefan Gentles on Fox's "Arrested Development." Lipton is also a licensed pilot and a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
Question: What lessons has your career as a writer taught you?
James Lipton: I must confess that when I’m alone in my study, here in New York, writing; that’s when I’m happy. Really, that’s when I’m unequivocally happy. I may be writing well, I may be writing poorly, but I enjoy the act of writing and sometimes when it turns out okay, I feel an elation that is incomparable. A good day’s writing, when I turn off my computer after I know that I’ve written okay, or as well as I can write, that’s a day well spent. I love writing. I like reading, other people, not myself. The Pivot Questionnaire that I ask other people, when I have on rare occasion answered it, the answer to the question, “What turns you on?” Is words. Not mine, other people’s. Words, words, words, that’s what turns me on. So, I would say that writing, both the act of writing, and of course reading of other people’s work is, for me, supreme joy. Always accepting the greatest joy of all is the time that I get to spend with my wife.
Recorded February 9, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen