The late James Lipton absolutely loved Will Ferrell’s “Saturday Night Live” impression of his “Inside the Actors Studio” interviews, giant stack of blue question cards and all.
“I have never been so grateful in my life as I am to Will Ferrell,” Lipton told fellow TV host Andy Cohen a few years back when asked for his first reaction to the impersonation.
Watch that conversation via the video above.
And remember Ferrell-as-Lipton in a select “SNL” sketch below.
That’s Kate Hudson playing Drew Barrymore — the skit is from Season 26, way back in 2000.
Lipton, who suffered from bladder cancer, died Monday in his Manhattan home.
A writer and producer, Lipton joined the Actors Studio in 1992 and went on to create “Inside the Actors Studio,” a series of seminars for drama students consisting of lengthy one-on-one conversations with performers dissecting their craft and experience. The series debuted in 1994 on Bravo and featured hundreds of guests including Paul Newman, Halle Berry, Meryl Streep and Robin Williams.
“Inside the Actors Studio” went on to earn 21 Primetime Emmy nominations, winning in 2013 for outstanding informational series or special.
Lipton left the show when it moved from Bravo to Ovation in 2019. The show employs the same format, with a rotating series of guest in place of a set host. In a statement at the time of the transition, Lipton called it “gratifying to see the legacy of ‘Inside The Actors Studio’ being carried forward for a new generation to appreciate and enjoy.”
“James Lipton was a titan of the film and entertainment industry and had a profound influence on so many,” Frances Berwick, president, NBCU Lifestyle Networks, said in a statement. “I had the pleasure of working with Jim for 20 years on Bravo’s first original series, his pride and joy ‘Inside the Actors Studio.’ We all enjoyed and respected his fierce passion, contributions to the craft, comprehensive research and his ability to bring the most intimate interviews ever conducted with A-list actors across generations. Bravo and NBCUniversal send our deepest condolences to Jim’s wife Kedakai and all his family.”
Ovation praised the hosts’ “passion, dogged spirit, and indelible contribution to the world of performing arts.”
Lipton’s work as a writer included soap operas like “Guiding Light” and “Another World,” the Broadway musical “Sherry!,” as well as the books “An Exaltation of Larks” and “Mirrors.” He also produced a number of television specials and made a number of guest appearances as himself on shows such as “The Simpsons,” “Glee” and “Saturday Night Live.”