Pivot, Lipton & Me
It is very difficult to generalise. Everyone's adventure is original- Bernard Pivot
James Lipton is such a fabulous host, interviewer, i have found myself, occasionally wishing it was me he was conversing with. It must be that I like his job, I end up admiring the 'interviewer' more than the 'interviewee'. But, after so many years of playing host to the biggest celebrities in town, there will be a new twist for one episode. Rather than guesting another actor or actress, who will bore us with their egotistical bla bla blahs, light has come. This time, a fan will be the subject of a 2 hour interview. Finally! After so long, the producers have decided to address it's lopsided presentation of the world of show business. That we, the consumers, the real 'star makers', have voices that need to be heard.
I'm in luck! The good news is, I've been selected to sit with Mr Pivot and Mr Lipton for this once in a lifetime interview. It's me and these two, bigger than life, broadcast journalists icons, who i will share the limelight with, at Bravo TV's Inside the Actors Studio. Both men will ask me questions and draw out what they hope to be a worthwhile and meaningful conversation with a non celebrity guest. The venue will be the Michael Schmmel Center of the Arts.
I'm actually looking forward to facing an audience of students from the Actors Studio Drama School, a group of artists wannabes' who will engage me with the usual Q & A. I'm tempted to gloat at the reality, that this single appearance can turn my obscure life around. Why not? After all, the show reaches 89,000,000 homes in America and 125 countries around the world. I can be the next star! Or, i can be the the biggest fool and laughing stock on television. Whoa! I should back out now.
But, why should i miss this once in a lifetime opportunity. This is the most exciting thing that's ever happened to me! Imagine i'll be sitting in the very chair where only celebrities like Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep have sat, and I'll be answering questions coming from the intelligencia of Pivot and Lipton. I have to pinch myself, because i still think I'm just dreaming! I mean, these men have been around, and they have been with the creamiest of the creme de la creme. I want to impress them of course, and I'm working on keeping them on their toes. But, i said i won't stress. I trust, that with their extraordinary gift of gab, they are sure to make me shine. That's what they do best, and that's why they are successful.
And, there's that portion in every episode, when the host will ask the famous 10 Proust's (Pivot and Lipton) questionnaires. Here's the list, and I've decided to share my answers right here.
- What is your favorite word? Forgiven
- What is your least favorite word? Hopeless
- What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Love
- What turns you off? Hate
- What is your favorite curse word? Dork
- What sound or noise do you love? Nature
- What sound or noise do you hate? Anger
- What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Pivot and Lipton
- What profession would you not like to do? Slaughtering animals
- If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? You've fought a good fight! Come and rest.
The lights will go off, the interview will be over, and Mr Pivot and Mr Lipton and I will kiss and go our separate ways. Television, and show business will hopefully be better with my little contribution. How I wish. We can dream can't we? So much for fantasy.
Meantime, i'll sit home, in my own chair and watch Bravo TV. Only because i',m curious about various aspects of life, i will now and then, watch a celebrity interview. The same with politics, i want to know beyond the slants of tabloids and certain media. I do admire James Lipton and enjoy his interviews. Pivot and Lipton are cuts above the rest. It is said that James Lipton, who speaks French fluently, was inspired by a chance viewing of a Pivot programme on cable TV to create Inside the Actors Studio. Lipton adapted Pivot's use of a Proust Questionaire to one that he himself used at the end of each episode of Inside the Actors Studio. Pivot became aware that Lipton was inspired by his questionnaire, and invited Lipton to appear on the final episode of Bouillon de Culture.
JAMES LIPTON: He is an American writer, poet, composer, actor and dean emeritus of the Actors Studio Drama School in New York City. He is the executive producer, writer and host of the Bravo cable television series, Inside the Actors Studio, which debuted in 1994. From 1994 to the present, more than 250 actors, directors and writers have joined him in creating what is considered the definitive craft archive of our time. The television series, which has been recognized with fourteen Emmy nominations in fourteen years, a record for primetime television nominations, is in fact a course in a master's degree program, the renowned Actors Studio Drama School of Pace University, which was created fifteen years ago by Mr. Lipton.
In the 1990s, Lipton worked to create a three year educational program for actors that would be a distillation of what he had learned in the twelve years of his own intensive studies. In 1994, he arranged for the Actors Studio—the home base of "Method Acting" in the USA for some sixty years now—to join with New York City's New School University and form the Actors Studio Drama School, a formal degree-granting program at the graduate level
Lipton created a project within the Actors Studio drama school: a non-credit class called Inside the Actors Studio, where successful and accomplished actors, directors and writers would be interviewed and would answer questions from acting students. These sessions are broadcast on television for the public to see. Lipton himself hosts the show and conducts the main interview. Lipton's scrupulous research and boundless curiosity has prompted his guests to share the deepest secrets of their craft. The series premiered with Paul Newman, the then president of the Actors Studio. A partial list of Inside the Actors Studio guests includes Sally Field, Dennis Hopper, Julia Roberts, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jack Lemmon, Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, Gene Hackman, Martin Scorsese, Nicholas Cage, Renee Zellweger, Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Angelina Jolie, Al Pacino, Billy Cyrstal, Ellen Burstyn, Chris Rock, Harvey Kietel, Clint Eastwood, Stephen Spielberg, Robin Williams, John Travolta, Morgan Freeman, Dave Chappelle, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey Jr.,Will Smith, Conan O'Brien and Halle Berry.
A friend and admirer of Bernard Pivot, Lipton is currently attempting to have the Apostrophes and Bouillon de Culture programmes dubbed into English for broadcast in the US.
During a Larry King interview in 2002:
King: If heaven exists, what would you like to...
Lipton: Bernard Pivot said -- by the way, he said, if God exists, but if I felt for the American market I had to soften it a little.
King: If heaven exists, what would you like to hear guards [God] say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Lipton: You see, Jim, you were wrong.
King: Same thing!
Lipton: I exist. But, Jim, you can come in anyway.
Inside Inside Lipton
BERNARD PIVOT: He is a journalist, interviewer and host of French cultural television programmes. He is a member of the Academe Goncourt, born in Lyon, the son of grocers. After starting studies in law, he entered the Centre de Formation des Journalistes in Paris. He graduated second in his class. After an internship at "Le Progrès" in Lyon, he studied economic journalism for a full year, then joined the Figaro Litteraire in 1958.
In 1970 he hosted a daily humorous radio programme that often raised political issues, which was not appreciated by Georges Pompidou. Meanwhile, in April 1973 he started hosting programme called Ouvrez les Guillemets on France's first TV network. In 1974, the ORTF was dissolved and Pivot started his Apostrophes programme. Apostrophes was first broadcast on Antenne 2 on January 10, 1975, and ran until 1990. Pivot then created Bouillon de Culture, whose scope he tried to broaden beyond books. On April 2008 Pivot was made an honorary member of the Order of Canada.
Bernard Pivot has been sharing his passion for reading and words for the past 50 years. His television programs, and famous spelling bees, have made an incomparable contribution to French culture. Over the years, he has helped make a number of Canadian authors known beyond it's borders and famous within La Francophonie. He has a great love for words and continues his important work as a member of the Conseil supérieur de la langue française and the jury for the Prix Goncourt.
More about Lipton
Lipton was born in Detroit Michigan, the son of Betty (nee Weinberg), a teacher, and journalist Lawrence Lipton. Noted as the author of the popular Beat Generation chronicle, The Holy Barbarians. In 1940s, Lipton portrayed Dan Reid on radio's The Lone Ranger. Moving to New York, he initially studied to be a lawyer, and turned to acting only to finance his education. He wrote for several soap operas, Another World, The Edge of Night, Guiding Light, Return to Peyton Place and Capitol.
In 1968, his book, An Exaltation of Larks, was first published, and has been in print and revised several times since then, including a 1993 Penguin Books edition. He had written two Broadway productions. He speaks French fluently. In 1983, Lipton published his novel, Mirrors, about dancers' lives. He later wrote and produced it as a TV movie In television, Lipton has produced some two dozen specials including: twelve Bob Hope Birthday Specials; The Road to China, an NBC entertainment special produced in China; and the first televised presidential inaugural gala for Jimmy Carter.
Do me a favor friends. Will you share your own 10 answers on Proust's questionnaires? That would be really cool!