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'Inside the Actors Studio's' James Lipton used to be a pimp in Paris

James Lipton 660 Reuters.JPG

Cast member James Lipton attends the premiere of the film "Igor" in Los Angeles September 13, 2008. (Reuters)

“Inside the Actors Studio” host James Lipton has become a household name for his in-depth and up close interviews with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood.

But in a recent interview with Parade magazine, Lipton said he used to have a much different occupation. In the 1950s, he worked as a pimp in Paris, France.

“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,” he explained. “It was perfectly respectable for them to go into [prostitution].”

He said he became good friends with a prostitute and worked with her and other women.

“I represented them all, but her especially. I did a roaring business, and I was able to live for a year. The French [men] 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.”

But he said he doesn’t believe people should buy and sell sex.

“I think if you can’t earn [sex] on your own, then you don’t deserve it,” he said.

On Wednesday night, Lipton will host the 250th episode of “Inside the Actors Studio” on Bravo.

“The 250th is different from any show we’ve ever done. I have brand-new interviews with Conan O’Brien, Barbara Walters, Christopher Walken, Ellyn Burstyn, Sugar Ray Leonard, Jennifer Lopez, Dave Chappelle, Jay Leno, Spike Lee, Katie Couric, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro — we’re going to their homes, their workplaces.”

Click here for more from Parade.

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