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Oscar Levant

Biography

Pianist, composer, and intellectual who became known for his witty performances on The Jack port Paar Show as well as other Television fare. He examined with famed piano pedagogue Zygmunt Stojowski after shifting to NY in 1922 pursuing his father’s loss of life. He also examined with Arnold Schoenberg and became good friends with George Gershwin. He have scored over 20 films from 1929 until 1948 and composed several pop music that strike the charts, which 1934’s Blame It on My Youngsters became his most well-known. He wedded Barbara Wooddell on January 5, 1932, however the relationship barely lasted per year. He later wedded June Gale on Dec 1, 1939. He frequently made an appearance on NBC radio’s Kraft Music Hall starring Al Jolson.

Quick Facts


Full Name Oscar Levant
Date Of Birth December 27, 1906
Died August 14, 1972, Beverly Hills, California, United States
Place Of Birth Pittsburgh, PA
Profession Pianist
Nationality American
Spouse June Gale, Barbara Woodell
Children Marcia Levant, Lorna Levant, Amanda Levant
Parents Annie Levant, Max Levant
Siblings Benjamin Levent
Awards Grammy Hall of Fame
Movies An American in Paris, The Band Wagon, The Barkleys of Broadway, Humoresque, Rhythm on the River, Romance on the High Seas, O. Henry's Full House, The Cobweb, You Were Meant for Me, Nothing Sacred, Kiss the Boys Goodbye, The I Don't Care Girl, Made for Each Other, Leathernecking, Jazz Heaven, Tanned Legs, Street Girl, Half Marriage, Music Is Magic, The Delightful Rogue, Flaming Gold, Side Street, Information Please: Series 1, No. 1, Love Comes Along, Let's Try Again
Star Sign Capricorn

  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1Near the end of his life, he became compulsive in his driving. According to his biography, if he had had bad service in a restaurant he would not drive past it. If a car had honked at him, he would not drive down that street again. At one point, he had to drive from the studio to his agent's office, which was only three miles away, with all his detours around streets he would not drive down he racked up over 25 miles.
2He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for recording at 6728 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
3The role of Cosmo Brown in Singin' in the Rain (1952) was written with him in mind, but was instead immortalized by Donald O'Connor.
4Some of his last public appearances were on the television quiz show The Celebrity Game (1964) in 1964; he also appeared October 17, 1965 on What's My Line? (1950) as the mystery guest promoting his book "Memoirs of an Amnesiac". It was around this time that he increasingly withdrew from the public eye (although he continued to write and his book "The Unimportance of Being Oscar" was published in 1968) and lived the remainder of his life (he died in 1972) with his second wife June and their three daughters out of the limelight.
5Recorded for Columbia and American Decca records.
6Was a regular panelist on the popular radio quiz show "Information, Please" in the late 1930s and early 1940s, as well as a semi-regular on Al Jolson's radio program in the late 1940s.
7At the time of his death in August, 1972, he had been off the entertainment scene for so long (almost a decade) that the police and ambulance attendants had to be told who he was.
8A lifetime sufferer of real and imagined ailments, his frequent stays in mental hospitals provided grist for his frequently biting humor.
9A composer as well as a pianist, he had more than fifty published songs to his credit, most notably the standard "Blame It on My Youth," and several short instrumental works, including the whimsically titled "A Polka for Oskar Homolka.".
10A close personal friend of George Gershwin's, Levant's performances of Gershwin's piano works are still considered definitive by many.


Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Johnny Mercer: The Dream's on Me2009TV Movie documentary performer: "That's Entertainment"
Hollywood Singing and Dancing: A Musical History - The 1940s: Stars, Stripes and Singing2009Video documentary performer: "That's for Me" - uncredited
Sita Sings the Blues2008music: "If You Want the Rainbow, You Must Have the Rain"
Eyes Wide Shut1999music: "Blame It on My Youth" 1934
Let It Be Me1995writer: "Blame It On My Youth" - as O. Levant
The Rocketeer1991writer: "ALL DRESSED UP AND NO PLACE TO GO"
Great Performances1991TV Series performer - 1 episode
Let's Get Lost1988Documentary "Blame it on My Youth"
That's Entertainment, Part II1976Documentary performer: "That's Entertainment" 1953, "Concerto in F" 1925 - uncredited
Funny Lady1975music: "If You Want the Rainbow You Must Have the Rain" - uncredited
The Carol Burnett Show1974TV Series music - 1 episode
The Jack Benny ProgramTV Series performer - 1 episode, 1958 writer - 1 episode, 1958
The Band Wagon1953"That's Entertainment" 1953, uncredited / performer: "That's Entertainment" 1953, "I Love Louisa" 1931 - uncredited
The I Don't Care Girl1953performer: "Hello, Frisco!" - uncredited
An American in Paris1951performer: "By Strauss" 1936, "Fascinating Rhythm" 1924, "Tra-la-la This Time It's Really Love" 1922, "Third Movement from 'Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra'" 1925 - uncredited
The Barkleys of Broadway1949performer: "Sabre Dance" 1942, "Week-End in the Country" 1949, "Concerto in B-flat Minor for Piano" 1874 - uncredited
Romance on the High Seas1948music: "Brazilian Rhapsody" - uncredited / performer: "Brazilian Rhapsody" - uncredited
Humoresque1946performer: "Prelude II" uncredited, "Prelude III" uncredited, "Etude in G flat major, Op. 10, No. 5." uncredited, "Liebestod", "Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52" uncredited
Her Kind of Man1946music: "Lady, Play Your Mandolin" - uncredited
Rhapsody in Blue1945performer: "Rhapsody in Blue", "Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra", "Mine" - uncredited
Kiss the Boys Goodbye1941performer: "Kiss the Boys Goodbye", "Battle Hymn of The Republic" uncredited
Made for Each Other1939music: "Made For Each Other" 1939 - uncredited
Charlie Chan at the Opera1936music: "Carnival: March Funebre", "Carnival: Ah, Romantic Love Dream", "Carnival: King and Country Call", "Carnival: Carnival Marche", "Carnival: Carnival, Then Farewell"
In Person1935music: "Don't Mention Love to Me", "Got a New Lease on Life", "Out of Sight, Out of Mind"
Music Is Magic1935music: "Honey Chile", "Love is Smiling at Me"
Steamboat Round the Bend1935music: "Steamboat Round the Bend" 1935 - uncredited
Black Sheep1935music: "In Other Words, I'm in Love" 1935 - uncredited
A Peach of a Pair1934Short music: "Lady, Play Your Mandolin" - uncredited
The Right to Romance1933music: "With You, With Me" 1929 - uncredited
Nothing But the Tooth1933Short music: "Lady, Play Your Mandolin" - uncredited
Bosko in Dutch1933Short music: "Don't Go to Sleep" - uncredited
Woman in Bondage1932music: "Careless Kisses" - uncredited
Lady, Play Your Mandolin!1931Short music: "Lady, Play Your Mandolin" - uncredited
Big Business Girl1931music: "Lady, Play Your Mandolin" - uncredited
Leathernecking1930music: "Evening Star", "Careless Kisses", "Mighty Nice and So Particular"
Danger Lights1930music: "My DreamMemory", "With You With Me" - uncredited
The Runaway Bride1930music: "Lovable and Sweet" 1929 - uncredited
Beau Bandit1930music: "Lovable and Sweet" 1929 - uncredited
Love Comes Along1930music: "Night Winds", "Until Love Comes Along"
Tanned Legs1929music: "With You, With Me" 1929, "Come in the Water, the Water Is Fine" 1929, "You're Responsible" 1929, "Tanned Legs" 1929 - uncredited
Jazz Heaven1929music: "Someone" 1929 - uncredited
Half Marriage1929music: "After the Clouds Roll By", "You're Marvelous" - uncredited
The Delightful Rogue1929music: "Gay Love"
Side Street1929music: "Take a Look at Her Now" - uncredited
The Prince of Wails1929Short music: "If You Want the Rainbow You Must Have the Rain" - uncredited
Street Girl1929music: "Broken Up Tune" 1929, "Lovable and Sweet" 1929, "My Dream Memory" 1929 - uncredited
Why Be Good?1929music: "If You Want the Rainbow You Must Have the Rain" - uncredited
My Man1928music: "If You Want the Rainbow You Must Have the Rain" - uncredited
The Band Beautiful1928Short music: "Keep Sweeping the Cobwebs off the Moon" - uncredited
The Ham What Am1928Short music: "Keep Sweeping the Cobwebs off the Moon" - uncredited

Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Jack Benny Program1958TV SeriesOscar Levant
The Cobweb1955Mr. Capp
The Band Wagon1953Lester Marton
The I Don't Care Girl1953Charles Bennett
O. Henry's Full House1952Bill Peoria (segment "The Ransom of Red Chief")
An American in Paris1951Adam Cook
The Barkleys of Broadway1949Ezra Millar
Romance on the High Seas1948Oscar Farrar
You Were Meant for Me1948Oscar Hoffman
Humoresque1946Sid Jeffers
Rhapsody in Blue1945Oscar Levant
Kiss the Boys Goodbye1941Dick Rayburn aka Oscar
Rhythm on the River1940Billy Starbuck
Night Parade1929Ann Pennington's Piano Accompanist (uncredited)
The Dance of Life1929Jerry Evans

Music Department

Music Department

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Fight for Your Lady1937composer: stock music - uncredited
Black Sheep1935music
Lightning Strikes Twice1934composer: stock music - uncredited
Gambling Ship1933composer: stock music - uncredited
The Woman Accused1933composer: stock music - uncredited
Flaming Gold1932composer: stock music - uncredited
The Age of Consent1932composer: stock music - uncredited
Bachelor Apartment1931composer: stock music - uncredited
Leathernecking1930composer: additional music
Tanned Legs1929music and lyrics by
Street Girl1929musical numbers

Composer

Composer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Romance on the High Seas1948
Fellow Americans1942Short documentary
Made for Each Other1939uncredited
Nothing Sacred1937
Crime Without Passion1934uncredited
Let's Try Again1934uncredited

Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Humoresque1946technical adviser - uncredited

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Merv Griffin Show1965TV SeriesHimself
What's My Line?1951-1965TV SeriesHimself - Mystery Guest
The Jack Paar Program1962-1964TV SeriesHimself
The Joey Bishop Show1964TV SeriesHimself
The Oscar Levant Show1958-1960TV SeriesHimself - Host
The Jack Paar Tonight Show1958-1960TV SeriesHimself
The Steve Allen Plymouth Show1958TV SeriesHimself - Pianist
The Eddie Fisher Show1958TV SeriesHimself
1955 Motion Picture Theatre Celebration1955Short documentaryHimself (uncredited)
Music 551955TV Series documentaryHimself
General Electric Guest House1951TV SeriesHimself - Host
Inside U.S.A. with Chevrolet1949TV SeriesHimself
Information Please: Series 3, No. 51942ShortHimself - Resident Panelist
Information Please: Series 3, No. 41942ShortHimself - Resident Panel Expert
Information Please: Series 3, No. 11941ShortHimself - Panel Member
Information Please: Series 2, No. 121941Documentary shortHimself - Panelist
Information Please: Series 2, No. 21940ShortHimself - Resident Expert
Information Please: Series 1, No. 111940ShortHimself - Resident Panel Expert
Information Please: Series 1, No. 101940ShortHimself - Resident Panel Expert
Information Please: Series 1, No. 91940ShortHimself - Resident Panelist
Information Please: Series 1, No. 81940Documentary shortHimself - Panelist
Information Please: Series 1, No. 11939ShortHimself - Panelist
Ben Bernie and All the Lads1923ShortHimself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Public Speaking2010Documentary
Pioneers of Television2008TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
Great Performances1991-2003TV SeriesHimself
Jack Paar: Smart Television2003TV Movie documentaryHimself
American Masters1997TV Series documentaryHimself
That's Entertainment! III1994DocumentaryPerformer in Clip from 'The Band Wagon' (uncredited)
Jack Paar Comes Home1986TV Movie documentaryHimself
That's Entertainment, Part II1976DocumentaryClip from 'The Band Wagon'
The Jack Paar Tonight Show1958TV SeriesHimself
The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Story1951Documentary

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#Quote
1An evening with George [Gershwin] was a Gershwin evening. There were recurrent lengthy references to his piano playing, his composing, his conducting, his painting - marcato monologues in alla breve, which George's audiences absorbed with the fascinating attentiveness of a Storm-trooper listening to one of Hitler's well-modulated firehouse chats.
2What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left.
3Schizophrenia beats dining alone.
4I have given up reading books. I find it takes my mind off myself.
5[about his first meeting with Marilyn Monroe] I said something to her and Jean Peters questioned my grammar. That was one of the nadir points of my career, to have my grammar corrected in front of Marilyn Monroe.
6[on his role in Rhythm on the River (1940)] I played an unsympathetic part--myself.
7[on Orson Welles] Sometimes he was inaudible--those were his best moments.
8Today I'm a neurotic basket case. My health is so bad that I might as well be the next Premier of India.
9When I was young, I looked like Al Capone but I lacked his compassion.
10I smile so seldom that I wonder at Arlene Francis, who smiles persistently. Like the Sorceror's Apprentice, once she turns it on can she turn it off?
11[on Steve Allen] When I can't sleep, I read a book by Steve Allen.
12It's not what you are but what you don't become that hurts.
13[o Perry Como] I'm convinced that his voice comes out of his eyelids.
14I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin.
15I admire Leonard Bernstein, but not as much as he does. Lennie has no humor about his egomania. I do.
16There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.
17The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats allow the poor to be corrupt, too.
18I envy people who drink. At least they have something to blame everything on.
19I am no more humble than my talents require.
20Happiness isn't something you experience; it's something you remember.
21[to his friend George Gershwin] Tell me, George, if you had it to do over, would you fall in love with yourself again?
22I hate cold showers. They stimulate me, and then I don't know what to do.
23I'm a controversial figure. My friends either dislike me or hate me.
24In some situations I was difficult, in odd moments impossible, in rare moments loathsome, but at my best unapproachably great.
25A musical is a series of catastrophes ending with a floor show.
26My psychiatrist once said to me, "Maybe life isn't for everyone".
27I made a comment to a newspaper about therapists saying that people should not become dependent on them and it got printed as, "The rapists say . . . "
28Strip the phony tinsel off Hollywood and you'll find the real tinsel underneath.


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