James Lipton revealed that he was a pimp in France following World War II.
Although this sounds like the setup for a really terrible joke, apparently the Inside the Actor’s Studio host is telling the truth. Before he was interviewing thespians, he was wrangling hookers in post-war Paris.
During a recent interview, Lipton said there wasn’t much work to be found in France after World War II. Since finding a job was even harder for women than it was for men, ladies often turned to prostitution to make ends meet.
Lipton said he became a pimp after becoming good friends with a prostitute. Before long, the host said he found himself managing a bordello full of hookers.
“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 explained to the folks at Parade magazine.
He added, “Young women desperately needed money for various reasons. They were beautiful and young and extraordinary. There was no opprobrium because it was completely regulated. Every week they had to be inspected medically.”
Alas, James Lipton’s career as a pimp in Paris would eventually come to an end. According to him, the bordellos were quite popular and very lucrative until a female sheriff moved into town and shut them all down.
Has the Inside the Actor’s Studio host’s thoughts on prostitution changed over the years? As hypocritical as it may sound, Lipton believes you shouldn’t be allowed to have sex if you have to pay for it.
“I think if you can’t earn it on your own, then you don’t deserve it,” he explained.
The next time you think your co-worker is a dull, straight-laced stick-in-the-mud, remember one thing: James Lipton used to be a pimp in France.