Oscar Levant

About Oscar Levant

Who is it?: American pianist
Birth Day: December 27, 1906
Birth Place: Pittsburgh, United States
Years active: 1923–1965
Spouse(s): Barbara Woodell (1932–1932; divorced) Doris Gilmartin; 1939–1972, his death; 3 children)

Oscar Levant

Oscar Levant was born on December 27, 1906 in Pittsburgh, United States, is American pianist. A highly talented and multifaceted personality, Oscar Levant was a skilled musician who also had a successful career as a comedian and actor. It is an unfortunate fact that his versatility was the very cause that overshadowed his brilliance as a musician and made people view him as a jack of all trades. Music was his first love and he had been receiving music lessons from a young age and was trained in composition under the able tutelage of the Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg. He forged a close friendship with the pianist and composer George Gershwin who enabled him to build a career for himself in Hollywood. Over the years he had composed music for several movies, and also wrote or co-wrote numerous hit songs. He became a regular panelist on the radio quiz show ‘Information Please’ where he impressed the audience with his quick wit and deep musical knowledge. Along with being a musician, he also developed a comic persona of a sarcastic and bitter man. He performed comedy sketches and began appearing in movies. His major pictures include ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ and ‘The Barkleys of Broadway’. The brilliant artist began suffering from neurotic problems during his later years and had to be frequently admitted to mental hospitals.
Oscar Levant is a member of Pianists

Does Oscar Levant Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Oscar Levant has been died on August 14, 1972(1972-08-14) (aged 65)\nBeverly Hills, California, U.S..

🎂 Oscar Levant - Age, Bio, Faces and Birthday

When Oscar Levant die, Oscar Levant was 65 years old.

Popular As Oscar Levant
Occupation Pianists
Age 65 years old
Zodiac Sign Capricorn
Born December 27, 1906 (Pittsburgh, United States)
Birthday December 27
Town/City Pittsburgh, United States
Nationality United States

🌙 Zodiac

Oscar Levant’s zodiac sign is Capricorn. According to astrologers, Capricorn is a sign that represents time and responsibility, and its representatives are traditional and often very serious by nature. These individuals possess an inner state of independence that enables significant progress both in their personal and professional lives. They are masters of self-control and have the ability to lead the way, make solid and realistic plans, and manage many people who work for them at any time. They will learn from their mistakes and get to the top based solely on their experience and expertise.

🌙 Chinese Zodiac Signs

Oscar Levant was born in the Year of the Horse. Those born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Horse love to roam free. They’re energetic, self-reliant, money-wise, and they enjoy traveling, love and intimacy. They’re great at seducing, sharp-witted, impatient and sometimes seen as a drifter. Compatible with Dog or Tiger.

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Levant was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, in 1906, to Orthodox Jewish parents from Russia. His Father, Max, was a watchmaker who wanted his four sons to become either dentists or doctors. His mother Annie was a highly religious woman whose Father was a Rabbi who presided over his daughter’s wedding to Max Levant.


Levant was open about his neuroses and hypochondria. The 1920s and 1930s wit Alexander Woollcott, a member of the Algonquin Round Table, once said of him: "There isn't anything the matter with Levant that a few miracles wouldn't cure." Despite his afflictions, Levant was considered a multifaceted genius by some. He himself wisecracked "There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line." In later life Levant became addicted to prescription drugs, was frequently committed to mental hospitals by his wife, and increasingly withdrew from the limelight.


Oscar Levant moved to New York in 1922, following the death of his Father. He began studying under Zygmunt Stojowski, a well-established piano pedagogue. In 1924, aged 18, he 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.


In 1928, Levant traveled to Hollywood, where his career took a turn for the better. During his stay, he met and befriended George Gershwin. From 1929 to 1948 he composed 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" (1934), now considered a standard.


From the 1930s through the mid-1950s, Levant appeared in a number of feature films, often playing a Pianist or Composer. He had major supporting roles in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musicals The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, An American in Paris (1951), starring Gene Kelly, and The Band Wagon (1953), starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse.


Levant was briefly married to Actress Barbara Woodell; they divorced in 1932. In 1939, Levant married for the second time, to singer and Actress June Gale (née Doris Gilmartin), one of the Gale Sisters. They were married for 33 years, until his death in 1972, and had three children: Marcia, Lorna, and Amanda.


1938 saw Levant make his debut as a music Conductor on Broadway, filling in for his brother Harry in sixty-five performances of George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s The Fabulous Invalid. In 1939 he was again working on Broadway as Composer and Conductor of The American Way, another Kaufman and Hart production.


From 1947 to 1949, Levant regularly appeared on NBC radio's Kraft Music Hall, starring Al Jolson. He not only accompanied singer Jolson on the piano with classical and popular songs, but often joked and ad-libbed with Jolson and his guests. This included comedy sketches. The pairing of the two entertainers was inspired. Their individual ties to George Gershwin—Jolson introduced Gershwin's "Swanee"—undoubtedly had much to do with their rapport. Both Levant and Jolson appeared as themselves in the Gershwin biopic Rhapsody in Blue (1945).


In the early 1950s, Levant was an occasional panelist on the NBC game show Who Said That?, in which celebrities would try to determine the speaker of quotations taken from recent news reports.


Between 1958 and 1960, Levant 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 and Linus Pauling. A full recording of only two shows is known to exist, one with Astaire, who paid to have a kinescope recording of the broadcast made so that he could assess his performance.


In 1960 Levant was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in recognition of his recording career.


He was the inspiration for the neurotic, womanizing Pianist "Henry Orient" in Nora Johnson's novel and subsequent Hollywood film, The World of Henry Orient (1964).


A lifelong heavy smoker, Levant died in Beverly Hills, California, of a heart attack in 1972 at age 65. His death was discovered by his wife June when she called him from their bedroom to meet for an interview with Candice Bergen, a photojournalist at the time. He is interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. In citing an old joke, comics tell an apocryphal story about Levant: that his epitaph reads, "I told them I was ill."

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