James Lipton, that old guy from “Inside the Actors Studio,” used to be a pimp (literally, not in the way kids these days say it) back in the day.
The living, breathing Will Ferrell parody told Parade magazine that he worked in “the underworld” of Paris, France after World War Two and called the time in his life his “rite of passage.”
“It was only a few years after the war. Paris was different then, still poor,” Lipton said. “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 continued: “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. The great bordellos were still flourishing in those days before the sheriff of Paris, a woman, closed them down. It was a different time.”
Lipton said that one woman in particular helped him get into the bordello business when he was a poor expatriate, and that he looked after her.
According to Lipton, “We became great friends. 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.”