Friday, January 21, 2011

Oscar Levant

One of my favorite "footnote people" of the 20th century. One of his movies (Humoresque, 1946) is on TCM right now, which started me on a Wiki-wander. It seems Levant had a live TV show in the late 1950's:

The show was highly controversial, eventually being taken from the air after a comment about Marilyn Monroe's conversion to Judaism: "Now that Marilyn Monroe is kosher, Arthur Miller can eat her". He later stated that he "hadn't meant it that way". Several months later, the show began to be broadcast in a slightly revised format—it was taped in order to provide a buffer for Levant's antics. This, however, failed to prevent Levant from making comments about Mae West's sex life that caused the show to be canceled for good.

He was also quoted:

"The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats allow the poor to be corrupt, too."


"Everyone in Hollywood is gay, except Gabby Hayes — and that's because he is a transvestite."

He titled his autobiography (one of three of them) Memoirs Of An Amnesiac.

I remember seeing him on the old Jack Paar Show. Quite a raconteur. He died in 1972.

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