James Lipton

James Lipton asks a lot of questions. But apparently he's been hiding a big secret all of these years.

The Inside the Actors Studio host, 86, recently revealed to Parade that he used to work as a pimp — someone who solicits clients for prostitutes — decades ago in 1950s Paris. "Men couldn't get jobs, and in the male chauvinist Paris of that time, the women couldn't get work at all," Lipton told the magazine. "It was perfectly respectable for them to go into le milieu."

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When Lipton ran out of money as a young man, a friend of his at the time — a prostitute — convinced him to give pimping a shot. "She arranged for me to do it," he said. "I had to be okayed by the underworld, otherwise they would've found me floating in the Seine."

Lipton, who is celebrating the 250th episode of Inside the Actors Studio, explains pimping was rather common then. "Young women [at that time] desperately needed money for various reasons. They were beautiful and young and extraordinary," he said. "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."

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Despite his time skirting the law, Lipton says he has learned from his past transgressions. "I think if you can't earn [sex] on your own, then you don't deserve it," he said.

Inside the Actors Studio's 250th episode airs Wednesday at 7/6c on Bravo. Are you surprised by Lipton's revelation?