≡ Menu

James Lipton Quotes

Louis James Lipton

James Lipton quotes: life lessons from Inside the Actors Studio legend, James Lipton.

“Know what you’re doing in life.”

“Do what makes you happy.”

“Know your worth.”

“Timing is everything.”

“Take risks.  What I didn’t know that by sticking to craft we would blow open some doors that I never saw opened before.”

“Be confident.  Have confidence in your work.  It’s hard not to critique your own work.”

“I think if you can’t earn it on your own, then you don’t deserve it.”

“Hard work has tough hours.”

“When you’re talking about the thing that is most important to someone, they’re liable to feel something strong.”

“If I were to ask you for example right now to go back with me and define those moments in your life that shaped you as a person and you began to reexamine them, something would happen.  You’d learn from your life.”

“Think about what you did throughout your life.”

“Be willing to learn and able to teach.  It can be summed up in one sentence, ‘Does this person have something to teach?'”

“The night that one of my students has achieved so much that he or she comes back and sits down in that chair next to me would be the night that I’ve waited for since we started this thing 23 years ago.  And it turned out to be Bradley Cooper.  I auditioned him.  If I had turned him down, he would’ve gone on to a different career.”

“Learn from the best to be the best.”

“No two people are alike.  They change.  They’re different.  There are no two alike, that’s the miracle of it.”

“I think that anybody’s craft is fascinating.  A taxi driver talking about taxi driving is going to be very, very interesting.”

“Protect our language.  Our language, one of our most precious natural resources, deserves at least as much protection as our woodlands, streams and whooping cranes.”

“The Pivot Questionnaire that I ask other people, when I have on rare occasion answered it, the answer to the question, ‘What turns you on?’ is words.  Not mine, other people’s.  Words, words, words, that’s what turns me on.”

“Life just comes easier to some.  The definition of genius, really, should be that that person can do what the rest of us have to learn how to do.  Geniuses have a different way of thinking.  Geniuses always think it’s easier than we make it out to be.”

“The better you get, the less credit you’ll get.  Because the better you are, the more it looks like walking and talking and everybody thinks they can walk and talk.”

“I always had to work, from the age of 13.  When my father left, we had nothing.  I dabbled in acting as a youngster, and I intended to pursue law to avoid the instability I experienced as a youngster.”

“I became an actor by accident, not by design.  I became a professional actor in Detroit and I was able to earn some money.  It was a good job because it permitted me to study.  It fit perfectly with school.”

“I was originally going to be a lawyer, and the only thing I remember from the art of cross-examination is—you can see this one coming up Sixth Avenue—never ask a question the answer to which you do not know.”

“I came to New York after the Air Force to get the law degree.  But I thought, ‘I’d better take some acting classes if I’m going to earn a living so I can be a lawyer.’  About five years later, I said to myself, ‘Stop kidding.  You don’t want to be a lawyer.  This is what you want to do.’”

“I never gave it up!  I love acting.”

“I’d been on all the television programs as an actor, as a writer, as a director, as a producer.”

“They will take a role that scares them over a role that doesn’t.  That’s another thing I like about actors.”

“I must confess that when I’m alone in my study, here in New York, writing; that’s when I’m happy.  I would say that writing, both the act of writing, and of course reading of other people’s work is, for me, supreme joy.”

“I may be writing well, I may be writing poorly, but I enjoy the act of writing and sometimes when it turns out okay, I feel an elation that is incomparable.”

“Comedians don’t laugh.  They’re too busy analyzing why it’s funny or not.”

“I live each day as if it were my last.  My work is my passion, and I love what I do and all the people I work with.  I empowered people to do their best, and hopefully my spirit, curiosity and passion will live on.”

“[On what he would like to hear God say when he arrives at the pearly gates] I would like to hear God say, ‘You see Jim, you were wrong.  I exist.  But you may come in anyway.'”

“A big accomplishment… I did get Tom Hanks to say, ‘Life is just a box of chocolates.'”

“Happiness is where it’s at.”

Cory Johnson: your momma’s neighbor’s side chick’s last Uber Eats delivery guy’s third-favorite blogger. Here’s how he makes millions of dollars blogging without being bothered.