Kedakai Turner is James Lipton’s second wife. She was married to Lipton at the time of his death. Lipton died on March 2, 2020, at 93 years old, of bladder cancer. His wife confirmed the news to TMZ, saying he passed away peacefully in the morning.
To TMZ, Turner said, “There are so many James Lipton stories but I’m sure he would like to be remembered as someone who loved what he did and had tremendous respect for all the people he worked with.”
Lipton was best known for being the host of Inside the Actors Studio. The actor and writer had a fascinating life, though, and often shared about his brief experience as a pimp living in France after the second World War, among other esoteric experiences.
Lipton called his marriage with Turner the “greatest” achievement of his life. They loved to go to the ballet together.
Turner’s full name is Kedakai Mercedes Turner. Here’s what you need to know about Turner, and her marriage to Lipton:
1. Lipton & Turner Were Married Nine Months After Meeting One Another
Turner and Lipton married one another after they’d been dating for nine months.
Lipton told Parade Magazine in an interview, “We met at the ballet. I took one look at her and I fell madly in love. I called her the next day and asked her to have dinner with me. Nine months later we were married.”
Per The New York Times, Turner was often present in the audience during Lipton’s shows. One of the running jokes on his show was that she forbade him from ever getting a tattoo.
2. Turner Was the Inspiration ‘Miss Scarlet’ on the Board Game Clue
Turner was a model and real estate agent prior to marrying Turner. However, she’s known for being the model who inspired the model on the Clue board game cover.
Turner’s involvement with the iconic game has inspired so much interest that it’s the subject of multiple Reddit threads.
Turner was occasionally a guest on Lipton’s show. She and Lipton also occasionally went on double dates with some of the A-listers that went on Lipton’s show. In an interview with NPR, Lipton shared a story about a double date he and Turner went on with Harrison Ford and his wife.
“The guests do get scared,” Lipton said. “Harrison Ford was shaking so hard that his hands were rattling on the – his rings and watches and things were rattling on the arms of his seat. And afterward, we went up to Elaine’s – he and my wife, Kedakai, and I – and we sat down, he said I have a confession to make. I said what. He said I didn’t sleep for three nights before I came to your show, I was that scared.”
3. Lipton Said That Marrying Turner Was His ‘Greatest Achievement’
In his interview with Parade Magazine in 2013, Lipton was asked what the greatest achievement of his life was. “No doubt about it,” he said, “Marrying Kedakai.”
When asked why his marriage had lasted 40 years, he said, “Because Kedakai is a masterpiece.”
4. Turner Was the Book & Illustration Designer for Lipton’s Book, ‘An Exaltation of Larks’
Though Turner remained relatively private throughout her marriage to Lipton, she did work with him on a number of his projects. One such project was her illustration work on his book, An Exaltation of Larks.
An Exaltation of Larks was published in 1993. Per Amazon, the book summary reads, “A delightfully unexpected, lovingly curated ode to the unique collective nouns that adorn our language, from ‘a leap of leopards’ to ‘a murder of crows’ and beyond, from the inimitable voice behind Inside the Actors Studio.”
5. Turner & Lipton Didn’t Have Any Kids Together
Turner and Lipton didn’t have any children together for the duration of their 40-plus year marriage. Turner is his only surviving immediate family member.
In an interview with Parade Magazine, Lipton was asked the question he always asked others on his show. The question was: If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive?
Lipton replied, “I want Him to say, ‘You see, Jim, you were wrong. I exist. But you may come in anyway.’”