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James Lipton Takes Fans 'Inside' His World

Fans of Bravo's Inside the Actors Studio know host James Lipton for his eloquence, his signature suit and beard, and the long list of A-list stars who grace his stage.

But they may not know that Lipton has flown airplanes, written lyrics for a Broadway musical, appeared in a soap opera, written books and produced TV specials.

In his new book, Inside Inside, Lipton takes his interviewing skills and looks inward. He also shares excerpts from interviews with his celebrated guests, including Tom Hanks, Anthony Hopkins, Jack Lemmon, Mike Nichols, Sean Penn and Julia Roberts, among others.

Lipton's path to heading the Actor's Studio Drama School in New York started circuitously, with stints as a radio actor in The Lone Ranger, a player on TV soap opera The Guiding Light, a Broadway lyricist for Sherry! and the producer of many Bob Hope TV specials. Lipton is also author of An Exaltation of Larks, an illustrated anthology of collective nouns.

In 1994, when the Actors Studio was about to close, Lipton stepped in and formed a partnership between the Studio and the New School for Social Research. The degree-granting program recently moved to Pace University, where students complete a three-year MFA program. His seminars, featuring in-depth interviews with famous actors and directors, became the basis for Bravo's show, which is now seen in 125 countries.

Scott Simon spoke with Lipton on the stage of his show, at New York's Pace University.

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