No ordinary TV host, Lipton took a journalistic approach to his job. He spent two weeks preparing for every interview, watching every film and TV show in which a guest appeared. The actual interviews lasted four to five hours (edited down for television). And Lipton arrived at every taping with his trademark blue index cards, ready to interrogate guests.
The legend appeared on Lipton’s show in 1998. While discussing the film Days of Wine and Roses, Lipton mentioned a scene where his character admits he’s an alcoholic.
What happens next isn’t on YouTube, but even as just a transcript, it’s still one of the most powerful moments in the show’s history.
Lemmon: “Which I am, incidentally.”
Lipton: “Are you talking as Clay [Lemmon’s character] now or as Jack Lemmon?”
Lemmon: “No, as Jack Lemmon. I’m an alcoholic.”