"Inside The Actors Studio" host James Lipton has revealed France's toughest mobsters gave him the OK to sell sex while he was a pimp in Paris following World War II.
You read that right - James Lipton was a pimp.
Lipton, 86, who has interviewed some of the biggest movie stars in the world, represented prostitutes in Paris as a way of earning money in the 1940s.
He explained to Parade.com, "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 (organized crime)."
He added, "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."
At one point, Lipton ran a whole bordello: "I represented them all... I did a roaring business, and I was able to live for a year. That's how I lived. I was going through my rites of passage, no question about it. It was a great year of my life."
A hooker friend introduced him to the world's oldest profession. "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 OK'd by the underworld; otherwise they would've found me floating in the (River) Seine," he said.