Who Was James Lipton's Wife? Meet Tedakai Lipton

His second wife was the inspiration for a famous board game character.

Who Was James Lipton's Wife? Meet Tedakai Lipton Getty

The man considered one of the greatest interviewers of all time passed away this week. James Lipton was the host of Inside The Actor's Studio from 1994 until he retired from the show in 2018. He spoke with nearly 300 actors about the craft that he loved.

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Before he was a successful host, he was an actor, writer, and producer for many years. He eventually created an intensive acting program and used that as a springboard for the show as a way to record the experiences of great actors.

He kept his personal life very private as did his wife Kedakai Turner Lipton. They were married for nearly 50 years and she was his partner in his creative life as well as his personal life. Before his marriage to Turner, he was married to an Oscar nominee named Nina Foch, though they divorced in the 1950s.

Who was James Lipton's wife at the time of his death? Read on for more details. 


1. Who was James Lipton? 

Lipton was best known as the host of the long-running Bravo series Inside The Actor's Studio. He started acting as a child to bring in extra money after his father abandoned his family. He considered going into law as a career after a short stint in the Air Force but eventually realized that acting was what he loved most. After years of performing on television, he moved into writing and producing. In the 1990s, he founded the Actor's Studio Drama School, a three-year training program for actors. It was as dean of that school that he conceived of the idea of Inside The Actor's Studio, a show where he would interview accomplished actors about their craft and careers. 

2. His first wife was an Academy Award nominee.

In 1954, Lipton married actress Nina Foch. Foch was born in the Netherlands, to a Dutch music conductor and an American singer and actress, Her parents split up when she was young  and her mother moved back to the United States where they lived in Nw York City.  She studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and signed a movie studio contract at 19. She appeared in films like An American In Paris, The Ten Commandments, and Scaramouche, In 1954, she received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in Executive Suite. She had Lipton divorced in 1959. 

3. Who was James Lipton's wife at the time of his death? He met his second wife at the ballet. 

In 1970, Lipton met Kedakai Turner. At that time, he was working mainly as a television writer and producer. He recalls seeing her and being immediately struck by her appearance. "We met at the ballet. I took one look at her and I fell madly in love," he told reporters. "I called her the next day and asked her to have dinner with me. Nine months later we were married.”



A post shared by Kedakai Lipton (@kedakailipton) on Sep 9, 2017 at 3:37pm PDT

Lipton and Turner in 2017. 


4. She inspired a board game cover.

Turner had been a model before marrying Lipton, though she was a real estate agent later on. One popular story about her is that she was the inspiration — or possibly even the model herself — for Miss Scarlett on the 1972 edition of the board game Clue. She seemed to confirm this rumor in a 2017 Instagram post where she posed with Scarlett Johansson and called herself Miss Scarlett. 



A post shared by Kedakai Lipton (@kedakailipton) on Jun 16, 2017 at 8:59am PDT

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5. She never let her husband get a tattoo.

She was often in the audience of Inside The Actor's Studio. When Lipton would ask guests about tattoos they might have, he would cut a wry look to where Turner was sitting and quip that his wife wouldn't let him have a tattoo.  

6. She was his creative partner.

One of Lipton's quirkier side projects was a book called An Exaltation of Larks, which explored nouns with odd plural descriptors, like a pride of lions or a murder of crows. Tuner provided the illustrations for the book. 

7. He considered their marriage his greatest accomplishment. 

When he was asked what his greatest accomplishment was, he replied, “No question about it — marrying Kedakai.” He also attributed the length of their marriage to her, saying they had been together so long "Because Kedakai is a masterpiece.”


After he passed away due to cancer this week, Turner remarked, "He lived each day as if it were his last. His work was his passion, loved what he did and all the people he worked with. He empowered people to do their best, and hopefully his spirit, curiosity and passion will live on."

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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. She is the creator of the blog FeminXer and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.