At the end of each episode of Inside the Actor’s Studio, host James Lipton is famed for asking his guests a number of questions inspired by French talk show host Bernard Pivot. Lipton often says the questions originally came from French novelist Marcel Proust who in actuality did not create the questionnaire that frequently has his name attached to it; he did famously answer two versions of it, thereby giving the list its notoriety.
I’ve often wondered what my answers to Lipton’s questions would be if ever I was a guest of the Actor’s Studio. However, not wanting to wait for my fifteen minutes of fame, and fairly certain that I’m not going to be an Inside caliber actor, I decided to skip the years of acting school, auditions, B-movie and slasher film starring roles, and runner-up as Golden Globe and Oscar nominee, and answer the questions now.
What is your current state of mind?
In acupuncture terms: Spleen Qi Deficiency with Liver Qi stagnation. That translates to stressed and worn out.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A sunset, at the beach, laughing with my beloved, with no work the following day. Or a quiet night at home lost in the pages of a good story.
What is your greatest fear?
The acupuncture herbal board exam. My last board to get my license.
Which living person do you most admire?
Who are your heroes in real life?
My parents, my sisters, my friends—anyone working to make this planet a better place to live.
What is your most marked characteristic?
My forehead. I keeps getting bigger every year.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Not feeling comfortable with feeling vulnerable. Until I do, I won’t be able to be myself.
What is your favorite quality in a person?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
What is it that you most dislike?
Anyone not open to, or willing to, learn new things—or try.
What is your greatest extravagance?
My fountain pen collection.
What do you most value in your friends?
Their honesty, unrelenting support, and patience for all the stupid things I do.
What is your favorite journey?
Going back to school at 48 to learn acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine.
What is your most treasured possession?
The education my parents gave me.
On what occasion do you lie?
When someone asks me who is the person I despise most.
Which living person do you most despise?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My ever-expanding waist size. After that, I’d like to learn to treat myself with kindness and compassion.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Going back to school at 48, starting over, getting a degree in acupuncture, and not giving up on myself when I don’t do well on a board exam.
If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
They’d be liberal Democrats. But then, they wouldn’t be my family, and I wouldn’t be a topic for discussion.
What is your idea of misery?
Rush-hour traffic, in Miami, in summer, with no AC.
What is your favorite occupation?
Acupuncturist and healer.
Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Betsy Trotwood, from Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield.
How would you like to die?
Asleep. In my bed. Embraced by my loved one.
What is your motto?
“Do not be afraid of who you are.” by Chögyam Trungpa
What is your favorite word?
Muy muy. (It means too, too in English.)
What is your least favorite word?
What turns you on?
What turns you off?
What sound or noise do you love?
Waves crashing on the shore, or a thunderstorm at night.
What sound or noise do you hate?
What is your favorite curse word?
What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?
Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine healer — otherwise, the past few years have been for naught.
What profession would you not like to do?
Fox News pundit. Politician.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“That wasn’t so bad now, was it? Let me put on a pot of coffee. I want to hear all about it.”
Now is your turn. If you were a guest of Inside the Actor’s Studio, how would you answer Lipton’s questions? Let me know and ping me back.