James Lipton, drama professor and 86-year-old host of Bravo's "Inside the Actors Studio," says he worked as a pimp in Paris, which in the 1950s he insists was a "perfectly respectable" profession.
In an interview with Parade, Lipton said when he ran out of money in Paris and told his prostitute friend he'd have to return home, she arranged for him to represent her bordello. "I had to be okayed by the underworld; otherwise they would’ve found me floating in the Seine," he said. "I did a roaring business, and I was able to live for a year."
"It was only a few years after the war. 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."
Lipton said the business back then was completely regulated and the city had flourishing bordellos. "Young women desperately needed money for various reasons. They were beautiful and young and extraordinary."
Business was good until the sheriff of Paris, a woman, shut the bordellos down. "It was a great year of my life," Lipton recalled.
When asked if he thinks people should buy sex, Lipton surprisingly said "I really don't. I think if you can’t earn it on your own, then you don’t deserve it."
"Inside the Actors Studio" is celebrating its 250th episode Wednesday with a two-hour special on Bravo. The show will include interviews with Conan O’Brien, Barbara Walters, Christopher Walken, Sugar Ray Leonard, Dave Chappelle, Katie Couric, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro and others.