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James Lipton: I Was a Pimp in France

The "Inside the Actors Studio" host recalls running "a whole bordello" of prostitutes in 1950s Paris

James Lipton: Beloved "Inside the Actors Studio" host. Proud wearer of finely groomed facial hair. Wrangler of prostitutes?

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As unlikely as it might seem, Lipton says it's true.

Lipton revealed his sordid past as a pimp in 1950s France in an interview with Parade magazine, of all places, admitting that he rode herd on "a whole 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," Lipton told Parade's Dotson Rader. "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."

According to Lipton, he got into the pimping game via a prostitute he became "great friends" with, and soon found himself managing the careers of numerous ladies of the evening.

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"Yes, a whole bordello," Lipton said, possibly while laughing maniacally and suggestively stroking his beard. "I represented them all, but [his 'great friend'] 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."

Don't expect Lipton to work his pimp hand these days, though; in the ensuing decades, Lipton has changed his viewpoint on sex for pay.

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Asked whether people should exchange cash for nookie, Lipton replied in the negative.

"I really don’t," Lipton opined. "I think if you can’t earn it on your own, then you don’t deserve it."

Spoken like a true pimp.