Levant, Oscar

Portrait
Born: Dec 27, 1906 AD
Died: 1972 AD, at 65 years of age.

Nationality: American
Categories: Actors, Composers, Pianists


1906 – He was born on the 27th day of December of this year in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania into a musical and Orthodox Jewish Russian family, Levant moved to New York with his mother, Annie, in 1922, after the death of his father, Max.

 

1923 - Levant appeared with Ben Bernie in a short film Ben Bernie and All the Lads made in New York City in the Deforest Phonofilm sound-on-film system.

 

1928 – He traveled to Hollywood where his career took a turn for the better. During his stay, he met and befriended George Gershwin.

 

1929 – He would go on to compose the music for more than twenty movies. During this period, he also wrote or co-wrote numerous popular songs that made the hit parade, the most noteworthy being "Blame it on My Youth," now considered to be a popular music standard.

 

1932 – He began composing seriously. He studied under Arnold Schoenberg and impressed him sufficiently to be offered an assistantship, which he turned down, considering himself unqualified.

 

1939 - Levant married for the second time, to singer and actress June Gale (Gilmartin), part of the singing foursome The Gale Sisters.

 

1958 - Between this year and 1960, he hosted a television talk show on KCOP-TV in Los Angeles, The Oscar Levant Show, which later became syndicated. It featured his piano playing along with monologues and interviews with top-name guests such as Fred Astaire.

 

1962 - Open about his neuroses and a notorious hypochondriac, Levant was in later life addicted to prescription drugs and was frequently committed to mental hospitals by his wife, June. He drew increasingly away from the limelight in his later years.

 

1972 – He died on the 14th day of August of this year in Beverly Hills, California of a heart attack at the age of 65.

Page last updated: 10:42am, 28th Jun '07
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