James Lipton Used to Be a Pimp in Paris

James Lipton, the stoic, inquisitive host of Inside the Actors Studio, apparently spent part of the ’50s working as a pimp in post-war Paris.

The 86-year-old TV icon elaborated on the experience in the latest issue of PARADE, in what can only be described as a deleted scene from Les Miserables:

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.

He goes on to say he became close friends with one of the prostitutes who worked for him.

“We became great friends,” he said. “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 all, 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.”

That’s great. Now, what’s his favorite word?

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