James Lipton Named 2008 Recipient of Pace University’s Leaders in Management Award for Entrepreneurial Achievements in Higher Education as Founding Dean of the Actors Studio Drama School and Creator of Inside the Actors Studio
– Award Dinner and Benefit on April 29 in New York City, Sponsorships Available –
Dinner Committee Co-Chairs and Members (in alphabetical order):
Alec Baldwin, Aniello A. Bianco, Stephen & Sharon Baum, Mark M. Besca, Jason & Haley Binn, Ellen Burstyn,
M. Graham Coleman, Esq., James B. Duffy, Mr. & Mrs. Jonathan Farkas, Jane Fonda, Alan Flusser, Barry M. Gosin,
John & Susan Gutfreund, Joan & George Hornig, Nathan Lane, Gary Lico, Pamela Liebman, Bill Nelson,
Michael O’Reilly, Joseph M. Pastore Jr., PhD, Gerald Schoenfeld, Ivan G. Seidenberg, Richard E. Snyder,
Kevin Spacey, David Verklin, and Lauren Zalaznick
March 28, 2008 – Pace University will pay tribute to James Lipton with its prestigious Leaders in Management Award on Tuesday, April 29 in the Rainbow Room at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.
Lipton, the 45th recipient of the award, is being honored for his pivotal role as the visionary behind the Actors Studio Drama School, a graduate degree-granting program which, with him as its founding dean, became the nation’s largest graduate drama school.
Lipton also created a course within the school – a noncredit academic craft seminar that came to be known as Inside the Actors Studio, where successful and accomplished actors, directors and writers are interviewed by Lipton and answer questions from Pace MFA students. The Actors Studio Drama School is a graduate program of Pace University and Inside the Actors Studio originates from the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts on Pace’s lower Manhattan campus.
In October 2007, Lipton’s newest book, Inside Inside was published by Dutton. The book is an account of the past 13 years of his life as the Dean of the Actors Studio Drama School and creator of Inside the Actor’s Studio. Autographed copies will be given out to all guests attending Pace’s Leaders in Management Award dinner. Guests will also be treated to renditions from Lipton’s Broadway musical Sherry! performed by undergraduate students in Pace’s BFA Musical Theater program.
Merlin. “In honoring James Lipton, we pay tribute to his creative brilliance, superior intellect, dedicated teaching and profound hard work,” said Pace President Stephen J. Friedman. “He is a Merlin inspiration to those aspiring Arthurs who hope to capture an Oscar, Emmy, or Tony of their own and ultimately appear center stage, as a blue-card guest celebrity on Inside the Actors Studio.”
Over the years, Lipton has received countless honors in the world of the arts, including three honorary PhDs, knighthood in France’s Order of Arts and Letters and the Lifetime Achievement Award from The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in 2007. However, for the first time in his distinguished career, he will be recognized for his entrepreneurial and visionary talents as the architect of the only drama school in America that trains actors, writers and directors side by side for three years in a master’s degree program.
In 1993, as all of New York’s cultural institutions faced a tightening financial environment, Lipton literally awakened one morning with a concept that was revolutionary for the famously private Actors Studio: a proposal that it open its doors, not to let the world in, but for the first time to let the Method it had honed for 47 years out, in a ground-breaking academic program.
Rising to the challenge, the committee formed by the Studio, comprising Ellen Burstyn, Lee Grant, Carlyn Glynn, Paul Newman, Norman Mailer, Robert Wankel and Arthur Penn, and led by Lipton, shaped the three-year MFA that would become the largest graduate drama school in the nation.
Simultaneously with the inauguration of the Actors Studio Drama School in September, 1994, Lipton, as its founding dean, created a series of forums to which he invited, in a round of letters, Studio members and colleagues “to come and teach our students.” When he received immediate responses from artists who included Paul Newman, Alec Baldwin, Dennis Hopper, Sally Field and Sidney Lumet, he sent word back into the world from which he had come “on the chance that these people may say something worth preserving.” The Bravo network took the existential leap with the Studio, and Inside the Actors Studio was born.
Since 1994, as Executive Producer, writer and host of the series, Lipton has faced more than 200 of the world’s most accomplished artists on the school’s stage, to create the unique craft archive that is now seen in 84 million American homes on Bravo and around the world in 125 countries, and has received 13 Emmy Award nominations in its first 13 years. The questions on the 300 to 500 blue cards Lipton uses during his interviews are based on information he compiles during the two weeks it takes him to prepare each program.
The result, as the New York Times has said, is that “In Mr. Lipton’s guest chair, actors cease being stars for a while and become artists and teachers.” The syndicated columnist Liz Smith wrote, “No actor, no matter how famous, says ‘No’ to James Lipton,” and Matt Lauer on The Today Show has called him the best celebrity interviewer in America.
Other Career Highlights. As writer and producer, Lipton has brought hundreds of hours of variety specials, movies, series, and performing arts programs to television. He wrote and produced President Jimmy Carter’s Inaugural Concert, the first presidential gala ever televised, and The Road to China, the first American entertainment program from the People’s Republic of China. As a playwright and lyricist, his Broadway accomplishments include the book and lyrics of Nowhere to Go but Up and Sherry! As an actor, he has appeared on the sitcom Arrested Development, in the movie Bewitched with his alter ego Will Ferrell, on ABC’s According to Jim, and The Simpsons. In the fall of 2008, he will be seen – and heard – in two major animation films, Disney’s Bolt and the Weinstein Company’s Igor. As himself, he has made numerous guest appearances on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Jimmy Kimmel Show.
Perhaps Mr. Lipton’s most significant achievements have come in the field of literature where he has made his mark in non-fiction with An Exaltation of Larks that has been in print since 1968, prompting Penguin Publishers to call it “a classic;” in fiction with the novel Mirrors, which he brought to the screen as well as screenwriter and producer; and in autobiography with his recently published “Inside Inside,” which Kirkus Reviews described as “A worthy – perhaps even enviable – life, related with passion, certitude, and considerable artistry.”
Leaders in Management Award. Past recipients of the prestigious award, an annual Pace tradition since 1962, include Michael O’Reilly, The Chubb Corporation; Barry M. Gosin, Newmark Knight Frank; Thomas Hays, Fortune Brands; Herbert Henkel, Ingersoll-Rand Company; Eugene R. McGrath, Consolidated Edison; Edward D. Miller, AXA Financial Inc.; David Rockefeller, The Chase Manhattan Bank and Ivan G. Seidenberg, Verizon Communications.
The annual awards dinner traditionally raises money for student scholarships, but this year’s event will premiere a new philanthropic target: it will be the formal launch of a fund earmarked for a theater in lower Manhattan that the Actors Studio Drama School MFA program can call its own.
Pace is also in the second year of “It’s Time: The Centennial Campaign for Pace University” with a goal of $100 million which will help Pace reshape itself for its second century. Money raised as of February 29, 2008: $81.1 million – http://www.pace.edu/itstime/index.html
About Pace University: For 102 years Pace University has combined exceptional academics with professional experiences and the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling more than 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lienhard School of Nursing, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. www.pace.edu
Samuella R. Becker
Pace University, Public Information
212-346-1637 or 917-734-5172
Sharon E. McCullough
President, Expert Events
215-546-9422 or 212-229-1341