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Inside Inside by [Lipton, James]
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Inside Inside Kindle Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When the Actors Studio faced possible extinction in 1994, Lipton (An Exaltation of Larks) engineered a partnership between the Studio and the New School for Social Research to create a degree-granting program. Thus was born the Actors Studio Drama School, with Lipton as both founder and dean. The school's craft seminars, in which Lipton interviewed leading actors and directors, became the basis for Bravo's Inside the Actors Studio, and since 1994, he has been that series' executive producer, writer and host. Looking back over the show's parade of personalities, he intercuts autobiographical flashbacks with quotes from the TV interview transcripts. These brief selections, excerpted from his sessions with Tom Hanks, Anthony Hopkins, Jack Lemmon, Mike Nichols, Sean Penn, Julia Roberts, Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep and many more, may leave some readers wishing Lipton had published the transcripts in full. Raising the curtain on his own memories, he traces the path of his multifaceted career as radio actor (The Lone Ranger), TV actor (The Guiding Light), Broadway lyricist (Sherry!) and novelist (Mirrors). Along the way, theatrical truths emerge and amusing anecdotes abound since Lipton is a witty and engaging writer. The free-associative transitions from interviews to autobiography occasionally read like two different books shuffled together, but that only makes this exaltation of Lipton doubly enjoyable. The 48 illustrations include Al Hirschfeld's caricature of Lipton. (Oct. 18)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“There are great, colorful stories about every side of show business here.  James Lipton lets it all go; his openness about himself, and artists of all stripes, is refreshing.”
—Paul Newman

"James Lipton is the most penetrating and compassionate interviewer I've ever known, but, more importantly, a terrific guy."
—Anthony Hopkins

“Once in a blue moon there is a person who comes along and excites an artist by his genuine interest in craft.  James Lipton ignites the artist's own interest in himself and his craft - and often rekindles it.  On these pages you'll find out how.”
—John Travolta

“A wonderful book…Lipton knows an awful lot about acting and all of it is in this book.  Interesting, original, valuable.”
—Sidney Lumet

“Every page brings forth revelations, experiences and moments that James Lipton has encountered and embraced, that could not possibly have happened in one single life, but most certainly did and continues to.  He has interviewed a virtual Who’s Who in theater, film and entertainment over the past decade and sprinkles the book with incisive gems from the mouths of these special people.  It’s a wonderful book, a joyful read and I highly recommend it!”
—Martin Landau

"James Lipton brings to us a very considered intelligence and a discerning appreciation of our leading artists in theater and film."
—Gay Talese, author of The Kingdom and the Power and Honor Thy Father

“Jim Lipton writes the way he talks,—with fluency and passion.  His own story is as startling and revealing as his interviews are.  We at the Actors Studio treasure him.”
—Oscar-winning actress Lee Grant

“I don’t know anyone more qualified than Jim Lipton to write a book about actors and their work processes.  I consider this book the most comprehensive look into the lives and thoughts of the gifted people that Jim has interviewed.  It’s wonderful.”
—Martin Bregman

“James Lipton is our cultural insider for all seasons.  As an actor, director, playwright, author, host, and friendly provocateur, he has seen it all and indeed lived it all!”
—Bruce Lundvall, President and CEO, Blue Note Label Group

Product Details

  • File Size: 1510 KB
  • Print Length: 540 pages
  • Publisher: NAL (October 18, 2007)
  • Publication Date: October 18, 2007
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000W9699U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #545,874 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Linda A. Marlia on November 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I respectfully disagree with the reviewers above. In addition to being a fan of Inside the Actors Studio, I'm a fan of James Lipton's. His love of language was legendary before Inside - this is, after all, the author of An Exhaultation of Larks which celebrates the richness of the English language so well it's been in print for something near 40 years. Yes,Inside Inside is written using words that aren't as commonly encountered today as they once were. I consider it a treat to find them tucked into what I regard as his very readable prose.

Mr. Lipton has led a fascinating life and I'm glad he's shared it with readers. His show doesn't settle for trite interviews featuring anecdotes rather than thoughtful content and I was pleased to find his book didn't either. Perhaps the title should have indicated the breadth of the book rather than focus on the show, but, since he was the creator of the series, knowing his story does put you Inside Inside. If you want a simple book about actors, you'd do better elsewhere, but if you want a visit with an interesting man who has talked with many of the greats about their passion for their craft, this is a fine choice for you.
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Format: Hardcover
This isn't really an inside look at "Inside the Actor's Studio." It's an inside look at James Lipton, with occasional tales about the show and the actors who've graced its stage.

On the tv show "Inside the Actor's Studio," James Lipton comes across as pompous and pedantic and far too impressed with himself. This impression is only reinforced by this book, where Lipton manages to quote Charles Dickens, Chaucer, Moby Dick, John Donne, Yeats, Coleridge, Robert DeNiro, Orson Welles, and Irving Berlin and refer to DW Griffith, Renoir, Eisenstein, Scorsese, Spielberg, W. C. Fields, James Bond, Fellini, Marcello Mastrioanni, Will Ferrell and more in just the first five pages. Lipton's linguistic showing off gets tiresome quickly. It doesn't support him as a story-teller; it just makes Lipton sound like he's trying much too hard to sound clever.

Which isn't to say that Lipton is not intelligent. As he goes through the history of acting theory and of the Actor's Studio, it's apparent that Lipton is thoughtful and insightful about his world. He sees common themes among different people, and he knows how to bring them together and display them in the context of the performing arts world. That ability -- one of the strengths of Inside the Actor's Studio -- is at work here, too. But this book would have been so much stronger if he'd gotten himself out of the way, even a bit.

Indeed, while promising that the book won't be about him as much as "the vibrant troop of other people who have quickened the most exciting adventures of my life," Lipton goes on at far too great a length about himself. As with Inside the Actor's Studio, the high points of this book are the words and stories told by guests on show -- their words, not Lipton's.
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Format: Hardcover
I heard James Lipton interviewed by Elvis Mitchell on KCRW's The Treatment (broadcast March 19, 2008). Lipton was promoting Inside Inside. The interview made me want to buy the book. When I visited Amazon to make the hardcover purchase the reader reviews were rather unkind and I thought, unfair. The theme of the complaints seemed to be that the book centered too much on Lipton and not enough on the show Inside The Actors Studio or on the stars who'd graced the show. Well after hearing that interview with Lipton on The Treatment, I came away understanding that Lipton's book was about himself and the different people and events that had influenced him. People who purchased the book thinking it was about something else perhaps did not bother to listen to Lipton before purchasing the book. James Lipton is a good story teller and at age 80 he has some good stories to tell. His classical education shows itself in his facility with language and in the themes around which he groups his essays. There are those who state that Inside Inside is too centered on Lipton as if that is a detriment instead of an asset. Lipton has had a rich life and he has met quite a few interesting characters outside of the well-knowns he's interviewed on the show. The manner in which he introduces you to these characters and allows you to get to know them through his memories is quite engaging. Still, this book may not be engaging for everyone. Before purchasing Inside Inside, or any book for that matter, I would suggest sampling one chapter of the book. If you would like an audio sample of Chapter 6 of Inside Inside you may search Y-o-u T-u-b-e for the ISBN-13 number for Inside Inside. The number is 978-052595035.
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Format: Hardcover
This book struggles with every problem mentioned in the "too much of Lipton" review, and then some. Not only is the first 1/3 to 1/2 of the book almost strictly about Lipton, his stories are so buried in flowery, pompous prose that it's hard to understand what he's talking about.

The rest of the book, while somewhat entertaining, is perhaps the most poorly edited book I've ever read. There is no flow, and apparently no rhyme or reason as to which guests and Lipton anecdotes are paired up in the various chapters. One passage begins with the interview with Michael Caine, then abruptly shifts to a discussion of how an appearance on the show can help to garner an Oscar nod. This happens constantly throughout the book, and is enough to give you literary whiplash.

Much of the book is basically a transcript of snippets of interviews, interspersed with anecdotes designed to make Lipton appear charming, clever, or a powerful member of Hollywood's inner circle.

All in all, entertaining enough if you enjoy watching the show, but if you've watched the show, you won't get much new info about the guests. If you want to read endless drivel about Lipton, you've found the book for you!
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