Bernard Levin
British journalist, writer and broadcaster
Bernard Levin
Henry Bernard Levin CBE was an English journalist, author and broadcaster, described by The Times as "the most famous journalist of his day". The son of a poor Jewish family in London, he won a scholarship to the independent school Christ's Hospital and went on to the London School of Economics, graduating in 1952.
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Arianna Huffington: 'My mother said failure was a stepping stone to success'
Guardian (UK) - over 3 years
Arianna Huffington has been confounding expectations all her life. Now one of the most powerful media moguls in the world, she says the Huffington Post is 'her last act'. Really? On a sweltering evening in central London this week, smartly dressed young women gathered to discuss "Redefining Success Beyond Money and Power". The keynote speaker contrasted the ancient Greek philosophers' ideal of "a good life" with our modern misapprehension that it means working 24/7, sleepless and stressed, soldered to a BlackBerry. We need a revolution to redefine success, she told her audience. Rest, relaxation and meditation are the future. "Prioritise your health. Live your life as if everything is rigged in your favour. Burnt-out people do not create a sustainable planet." She could pass quite easily for the owner of a wellbeing centre for Notting Hill ladies who lunch. Regally coiffed and impeccably dressed, she said nothing much that you won't already have heard from yoga enthusiasts. The surp ...
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Guardian (UK) article
Charlie Glyn: The Bernard Levin Award for Journalism 2012: Seven Years On
Huffington Post - almost 5 years
The London School of Economics has its fair share of notable Alumni - famous in business, international organisations and politics (for both good and bad reasons...) Cast that net even further however, and you will hear the tale of an LSE student, whose Professor prophesised that he would be known for something other than his antics at LSE: "What you want to do is write." He went on to be selected by his peers as one of Britain's most influential journalists of the past four decades. I never had the pleasure of meeting Bernard Levin, the controversial commentator - famed for his intellectual and stinging commentaries on politics and political figures of all persuasions - but despite passing away nearly eight years ago, he will not be forgotten. A number of his old friends, including David Kingsley OBE and Sir John Burgh, set out to establish a journalism award in his memory, at the very institution where they first met, the LSE. On Tuesday 8 May, students, media profes ...
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Huffington Post article
Arianna Huffington: Quoting Shakespeare
The Huffington Post - almost 5 years
To celebrate Shakespeare's birthday, we're featuring some of our favorite archival pieces about his life and work. This one was first published in July 2005. Happy Birthday, Bill! After the horrors of this week, we could all use a little weekend palate cleanser. And who better to provide this Saturday summer sorbet than Britain's own immortal Bard, a writer who dealt with all the darkness of the human soul but also brilliantly celebrated the light and tickled our fancy? The following bit of Shakespearean amusement was concocted by my great friend Bernard Levin, who passed away last year. It was recited to perfection by Michael York at a dinner in Aspen given by Lynda and Stewart Resnick in honor of all the speakers at the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival. After York's rendition, the party erupted with requests (including one from Arthur Schlesinger) for copies of what York had just read. So instead of running out to Kinko's, I've decided to post it here so that he -- ...
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The Huffington Post article
Arianna Huffington: HuffPost and Spotify: Music to My Ears
The Huffington Post - almost 5 years
I'm delighted to announce a new HuffPost partnership with Spotify, the popular music streaming service. You'll now see a new feature, the Spotify Play Button, on various pages across HuffPost, enabling you to enjoy music curated by HuffPost editors to complement whatever it is you're reading or viewing. Spotify and HuffPost share several key strands of DNA: we're both deeply social, community-fueled platforms that aim to help our users discover, experience and share the best of what you can find online. (And even though HuffPost was born in 2005 and Spotify in 2006, that still counts as the same Internet generation, so I don't anticipate any "turn that crazy music down" shouting matches.) For me -- and I suspect this is true for almost everyone -- music is an essential ingredient of life. Over the years, I have formed deeply personal attachments to certain pieces of music. I have enjoyed the music I love in solitude and also shared it with friends. And I first met Bernard L ...
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The Huffington Post article
Keeler – review - The Guardian
Google News - over 5 years
On the other hand, Bernard Levin in The Pendulum Years argued that the Profumo affair was a transitional moment, with the minister "the last victim of the old, unpermissive standards" before the onset of the tolerant sixties
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Google News article
We're not whisperin' any more - Jewish Chronicle
Google News - over 5 years
It doesn't any more. Whenever there was a new edition there would be a hooha – a Jew-ha – not least in this publication. The great columnist Bernard Levin was very bored by it all. He wrote that his definition of a Jew was someone who looked up the
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Google News article
A life in writing: Fiona MacCarthy - The Guardian
Google News - over 5 years
Bernard Levin, writing in the Times, called Gill "a revolting criminal". MacCarthy was shaken by this response to the book and, more particularly, by the reaction of the Gill family. She received a "barrage of letters and phone calls for a couple of
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Google News article
Who's That Girl? Arianna Huffington in Conversation with Marlo Thomas and the ... - New York Observer
Google News - over 5 years
The hires make sense: Ms. Huffington is known for her New Age leanings (she and a former flame, the late Bernard Levin, briefly followed metaphysical guru John-Roger), and Off the Record has noted a sort of Oprah Winfrey-style secular spirituality
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Google News article
Las andanzas de un sinvergüenza - Revista Ñ
Google News - over 5 years
le preguntó Bernard Levin en 1983. “Sí”, contestó Naipaul, “pero fue un gran error”. VS Naipaul se pasó su vida de nómade corrigiendo y reescribiendo a Seepersad Naipaul, su padre. Una tarea titánica. “Y de repente, un día, sumido en una depresión casi
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Google News article
Huffington and Brown: Paths Intertwine In the Blog Thicket
NYTimes - over 8 years
After Tina Brown's signature Talk Magazine closed in 2001, she reached out to an old friend for support: Arianna Huffington. Together they traveled to Rancho La Puerta, a spa in Mexico, and in early morning hikes in the foothills of Mount Kuchumaa, the two discussed Ms. Brown's future. ''We talked about what she would do after Talk,'' Ms.
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NYTimes article
SECOND OPINION; When Hopes For a Drug Are Dashed, What Then?
NYTimes - over 10 years
Here's a story about the way patients' hopes and doctors' good intentions can work together to stretch research into medical practice, for better or worse, even before the studies are finished. Three and a half years ago, when she was 65, my sister learned that she had rectal cancer and would need radiation, extensive surgery and months of
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NYTimes article
Paid Notice: Deaths LEVIN, FLORENCE
NYTimes - almost 11 years
LEVIN--Florence of New York City and Ocean Beach, NY. The widow of the late Bernard Levin; loving wife, mother and grandmother. Beloved by her family and friends. Survived by daughter Jane, son Richard, daughterin-law Margaret and granddaughters Lizzy and Ann. Funeral services on Sunday April 30, 1pm at Plaza Jewish Community Chapel, Amsterdam
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NYTimes article
Paid Notice: Deaths LEVIN, FLORENCE
NYTimes - almost 11 years
LEVIN--Florence of New York City and Ocean Beach, NY. The widow of the late Bernard Levin; loving wife, mother and grandmother. Beloved by her family and friends. Survived by daughter Jane, son Richard, daughterin-law Margaret and granddaughters Lizzy and Ann. Funeral services on Sunday April 30, 1pm at Plaza Jewish Community Chapel, Amsterdam
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NYTimes article
Cancer 'Prevention' Is Big Seller, But Medical Experts Are Divided
NYTimes - about 13 years
The 2,000 people, the worried well, who come each year to Memorial Sloan-Kettering's cancer prevention center will learn that many cancers can, in fact, be prevented, and that it is up to them to have the appropriate medical tests and to live right. For their $2,000 fee, most of which is paid by health insurance, they may be steered to smoking
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NYTimes article
THEATER REVIEW; Actress Finds Shadows In Shakespearean Spunk
NYTimes - about 13 years
The Forest of Arden has never looked more wintry, but the news coming out of there these days has the hope of springtime: Rosalind has been reborn. As portrayed by Rebecca Hall, a young British actress of glistening freshness and uncanny intuition, Shakespeare's cockiest heroine is no longer the clever, charming and intrepid lass who rules the men
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NYTimes article
THINK TANK; Predicting Which Predictions Will Come True
NYTimes - about 17 years
A quarter of a century ago, Look magazine published a symposium in which leading scholars, scientists and social thinkers were asked to peer into the foggy beyond that goes by the name of the Next Millennium and tell what they saw. Among those invited to participate were Mike Nichols and Elaine May, then a youthful comedy team. They wrote: ''There
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NYTimes article
Wolf Mankowitz, Novelist And Screenwriter, Dies at 73
NYTimes - over 18 years
Wolf Mankowitz, a writer of eclectic interests whose prolific output extended to novels, plays, television drama and films, died on May 20 in County Cork, Ireland, where he lived. He was 73. When he retired from writing books in 1991, he disclosed that he had terminal cancer. Although he wrote fiction and nonfiction, created original screenplays
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NYTimes article
Brilliant, Baffling, And Not About To Change
NYTimes - almost 20 years
WELL AFTER THE ERA OF BETTY Grable and well before that of Cindy Crawford, a most unlikely pinup girl reigned from the walls of men's dormitories in schools across America. She was ravishing, of course, and half-naked. But she had none of the invitational passivity common to gorgeous women in posters. Her arms were crossed at defensive angles
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NYTimes article
AT LUNCH WITH: Arianna Huffington;A Phoenix of the Right Rises
NYTimes - over 20 years
AN editor's phone call interrupts the post-deadline languor of Arianna Huffington, striving columnist and firebird of right-wing Republican polemics, at Coco Pazzo, the East Side restaurant, where she is lingering over caffe latte and the dregs of her husband's failed 1994 race for the Senate. "Michael's money is from the oil business," she says
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NYTimes article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Bernard Levin
  • 2004
    Age 75
    Died in 2004.
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  • 1997
    Age 68
    From the early 1990s, Levin developed Alzheimer's disease, which eventually forced him to give up his regular column in 1997, and to stop writing altogether not long afterwards.
    More Details Hide Details Levin was born in London, the second child and only son of Philip Levin, a tailor of Jewish Bessarabian descent, and his wife, Rose, née Racklin. Philip Levin abandoned the family and moved to South Africa when Levin was three. The two children were brought up with the help of their maternal grandparents, who had emigrated from Lithuania at the turn of the 20th century. Levin wrote of his childhood, "My home was not a religious one; my grandfather read the scriptures to himself silently and struggled through a little English; my grandmother, who could read no language at all, lit a candle on the appropriate days, as did my mother, though for her it was not really a religious sign. My uncles were quite secular... and had hardly anything to do with the religion of their father and grandfathers". In The Guardian after Levin's death, Quentin Crewe wrote, "His illiterate grandparents' stories about life in Russia must have instilled in him the passionate belief in the freedom of the individual that lasted his whole life. In return, as he grew older, he used to read to them. Bernard could not read Hebrew, but he could get by in Yiddish".
  • 1995
    Age 66
    From September 1995 his Times column appeared once weekly instead of twice, and in January 1997 the editor, Peter Stothard, concluded, despite a great admiration for Levin, that the weekly column should cease.
    More Details Hide Details Levin retired, though he continued to write for the paper occasionally over the next year. In his last decade, Levin's partner was the journalist Liz Anderson, who took care of him during the long degenerative phase of his illness. He died in Westminster, London, aged 75. He is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London. A memorial service was held at the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields at which Sir David Frost delivering the eulogy described Levin as "a faithful crusader for tolerance and against injustice who had declared, 'The pen is mightier than the sword – and much easier to write with'".
  • 1990
    Age 61
    Levin was appointed CBE for services to journalism in 1990.
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  • 1988
    Age 59
    Levin began to have difficulty with his balance as early as 1988, although Alzheimer's disease was not diagnosed until the early 1990s.
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  • 1985
    Age 56
    He wrote books based on each of the three series, published in 1985, 1987 and 1989 respectively.
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  • 1984
    Age 55
    He was president of the English Association, 1984–85, and vice-president 1985–88.
    More Details Hide Details He was an honorary fellow of the LSE from 1977, and a member of the Order of Polonia Restituta, conferred by the Polish Government-in-Exile in 1976. In its obituary tribute to him, The Times described Levin as "the most famous journalist of his day". Notes References
  • 1983
    Age 54
    Levin never published an autobiography, but his book Enthusiasms, published in 1983, consists of chapters on his principal pleasures: books, pictures, cities, walking, Shakespeare, music, food and drink, and spiritual mystery.
    More Details Hide Details The book is dedicated "To Arianna, with much more than enthusiasm" – they remained loving friends for the rest of his life. It contains a sentence that far outdoes his earlier 1,667 word effort in The Times, starting on page 212 and ending four pages later; it lists the restaurants most esteemed by Levin in Europe, Asia and America. In the 1980s, Levin made three television series for Channel 4. The first, Hannibal's Footsteps, screened in 1985, showed Levin walking the presumed route taken by Hannibal when he invaded Italy in 218 BC.. The programme followed Levin's 320-mile journey from Aigues-Mortes to the crossing into Italy in the Queyras valley. He remained true to his declared intention of eschewing all forms of vehicular transport, and walked all the way, with the exception of his crossing the Rhone, rowing himself in a small boat. He followed this with To the End of the Rhine in 1987, following the Rhine from its two sources, the Hinterrhein and the Vorderrhein, in Switzerland, to its estuary at Rotterdam, to the north. In between he joined the Swiss citizen army on manoeuvres, visited Liechtenstein bankers, zig-zagged the Swiss–German border at Lake Constance, attended the Schubertiade at Hohenems and the opera at Bregenz, took the waters at Baden-Baden, visited the manufacturers of eau de Cologne, and paid tribute to Erasmus at Basle. The last of the three series was in 1989, A Walk up Fifth Avenue in New York, from Washington Square to the Harlem River.
  • 1982
    Age 53
    On returning to the paper in October 1982, he began his column with the words, "And another thing".
    More Details Hide Details This mirrored his opening gambit when publication of The Times resumed in 1979 after a printers' strike lasting nearly a year: his first column then had begun with the word "Moreover". By the 1980s Levin was sufficiently well known to be the subject of satire himself. The satirical ITV show Spitting Image caricatured him in high-flown discussion with another well-known intellectual in a sketch entitled "Bernard Levin and Jonathan Miller Talk Bollocks". By now, Levin's political views were moving to the right, and he was no longer writing so much against the grain of his newspaper. He had come to admire Margaret Thatcher, though not the rest of her party: "But there is one, and only one, political position that, through all the years and all my changing views and feelings, has never altered, never come into question, never seemed too simple for a complex world. It is my profound and unwavering contempt for the Conservative Party".
    Within a year Evans and Murdoch fell out and Evans left in 1982; Douglas-Home became editor, and coaxed Levin back, to write two columns a week.
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  • 1981
    Age 52
    In 1981 Levin took a sabbatical from The Times after Rupert Murdoch bought the paper and Harold Evans succeeded Rees-Mogg as editor.
    More Details Hide Details Evans and Levin were friends, but Levin had publicly stated his preference that Charles Douglas-Home should be appointed.
  • 1980
    Age 51
    In 1980 he wrote extensive accounts in his column about his visit to the Indian commune of the meditation teacher Osho.
    More Details Hide Details Levin was commissioned by the BBC to visit musical festivals around the world, broadcasting a series of talks about them. Together with Stassinopoulos, he visited festivals in Britain, Ireland, continental Europe and Australia. He later wrote a book, Conducted Tour (1982) on the same subject. By the time it was published he and Stassinopoulos were no longer together. At the age of 30, she remained deeply in love with him but longed to have children; Levin never wanted to marry or be a father. She concluded that she must break away, and moved to New York in 1980.
  • 1971
    Age 42
    In 1971, Levin appeared in an edition of Face the Music along with a new panellist, Arianna Stassinopoulos (later known as Arianna Huffington).
    More Details Hide Details He was 42; she was 21. A relationship developed, of which she wrote after his death: "He wasn't just the big love of my life, he was a mentor as a writer and a role model as a thinker". Although Levin had rejected Judaism when a youth, he quested after spirituality. Such religious sympathies as he had, he said, were "with quietist faiths, like Buddhism, on the one hand, and with a straightforward message of salvation, like Christianity, on the other". With the help of Stassinopoulos he continued to search after spiritual truth. She later wrote, "He tried therapy, he tried Insight, a self-awareness seminar that I had helped to bring to London, he tried a stint in an ashram in India. Lesser souls would have avoided the ridicule that was heaped on him for his spiritual 'search' by simply keeping it to himself. But he didn't, because anything he was touched by he had to write about".
    Two months later, controversy followed Levin's renewed condemnation of Lord Goddard immediately after the latter's death in May 1971.
    More Details Hide Details The legal profession closed ranks and defended Goddard's reputation against Levin's attacks. Among those denouncing Levin were Lords Denning, Devlin, Hodson, Parker, Shawcross and Stow Hill. After Levin's death The Times published an article opining that information made public since 1971 "strongly supported" his criticisms of Goddard. At the time, the lawyers took revenge on Levin by ensuring that his candidacy for membership of the Garrick, a London club much favoured by lawyers and journalists, was blackballed. At The Daily Mail, Levin had generally been restricted to 600 words for his articles. At The Times he had more licence to spread himself. He appeared in The Guinness Book of Records for the longest sentence ever to appear in a newspaper – 1,667 words. He was proud of this, and affected to be outraged when "some bugger in India wrote a sentence very considerably longer". He maintained that he could construct impromptu a sentence of up to 40 subordinate clauses "and many a native of these islands, speaking English as to the manner born, has followed me trustingly into the labyrinth only to perish miserably trying to find the way out".
  • 1970
    Age 41
    In June 1970, during the general election campaign, Levin fell out with the proprietors of The Daily Mail, Lord Rothermere and his son Vere Harmsworth.
    More Details Hide Details Levin's contract guaranteed him absolute freedom to write whatever he chose, but Harmsworth, an unswerving Conservative, attempted to censor Levin's support for the other major party, Labour. Levin resigned, and immediately received offers from The Guardian and The Times to join them as a columnist. He found both tempting, and at one point "even had a wild notion of suggesting that I should write for both simultaneously". In the end, he chose The Times, giving as his reason that though the liberal Guardian was more in line with his own politics than the conservative Times, "I wrote more comfortably against the grain of the paper I worked for rather than with it". His obituarist in The Times adds that the decision may also have been swayed by the better remuneration offered by the paper. Among the perquisites of the Times appointment were a company car and a large and splendid office at the paper's building in Printing House Square, London. Levin accepted neither; he could not drive and he hated to be isolated. He commandeered a desk in the anteroom to the editor's office, a location that kept him closely in touch with the daily affairs of the paper. It also gave him ready access to the editor, William Rees Mogg, with whom he developed a good friendship. Levin's brief was to write two columns a week (later three) on any subject that he wished.
    Levin published his first book in 1970.
    More Details Hide Details Called The Pendulum Years, its subtitle, Britain and the Sixties, summed up its subject. In 22 self-contained chapters, Levin considered various aspects of British life during the decade. Among his topics were prominent people including Harold Macmillan and Harold Wilson – dubbed the Walrus and the Carpenter by Levin – and institutions such as the monarchy, the churches and the British Empire in its last days. Among the individual events examined in the book were the 1968 student riots and the prosecution for obscenity of the publishers of Lady Chatterley's Lover. Levin's interest in indexes developed from his work on The Pendulum Years. He compiled his own index for the book, "and swore a mighty oath, when I had finished the task, that I would rather die, and in a particularly unpleasant manner, than do it again". He contrived to include in his index an obscene joke at the expense of the hapless prosecutor in the Chatterley trial, but found the difficulty of indexing so great that he became a champion of the Society of Indexers. He wrote several articles on the subject, and when reviewing books made a point of praising good indexes and condemning bad ones.
  • 1963
    Age 34
    In 1963 Levin was invited to appear regularly on BBC television's new weekly late-night satirical revue, That Was The Week That Was, where he delivered monologues to camera about his pet hates and conducted interviews, appearing as "a tiny figure taking on assorted noisy giants in debate".
    More Details Hide Details The programme, which had a short but much-discussed run, was transmitted live; this added to its edginess and impact, but also made it prone to disruption. Levin was twice assaulted on air, once by the husband of an actress whose show Levin had reviewed severely, and once by a woman astrologer who squirted him with water. In 1966 BBC television screened a new musical quiz, Face the Music presented by Joseph Cooper. It ran intermittently until 1984. Levin was a frequent panel member along with, among others, Robin Ray, Joyce Grenfell, David Attenborough and Richard Baker.
  • 1962
    Age 33
    Gilmour discouraged any hopes Levin might have had of succeeding Inglis as editor and in 1962, Levin left both The Spectator and The Daily Express, becoming drama critic of The Daily Mail.
    More Details Hide Details He remained there for eight years, and for the last five of them also wrote five columns a week on any subject of his choice. Although by the early 1960s Levin was becoming a well-known name, his was not yet a well-known face. Meeting him in London the publisher Rupert Hart-Davis did not immediately recognise him: "He looks about sixteen, and at first I thought he was someone’s little boy brought along to see the fun – very Jewish, with wavy fairish hair, very intelligent and agreeable to talk to".
  • 1959
    Age 30
    Concurrently with his work at The Spectator, Levin was the drama critic of The Daily Express from 1959, offending many in theatrical circles by his outspoken verdicts.
    More Details Hide Details He modelled his reviewing style on that of Bernard Shaw's musical reviews of the late 19th century. He gave a fellow-critic an edition of Shaw's collected criticism, writing inside the cover, "'In the hope that when you come across the phrases I have already stolen you will keep quiet about it".
    In 1959, Gilmour, while remaining as proprietor, stepped down as editor and was succeeded by his deputy, Brian Inglis; Levin took over from Inglis as assistant editor.
    More Details Hide Details Later in that year, after the general election victory of another of his bêtes noires, Harold Macmillan, Levin gave up the Taper column, professing himself to be in despair.
  • 1956
    Age 27
    In 1956, Levin found himself in irreconcilable disagreement with Truth's support of the Anglo-French military action in the Suez Crisis.
    More Details Hide Details The proprietor and editor of the long-established weekly The Spectator, Ian Gilmour, invited Levin to join his staff. Levin left Truth and became the political correspondent of The Spectator. He declared that he was no expert in politics, but Gilmour advised him, "review it as you would review television". Levin wrote his column under the pseudonym "Taper", from the name of a corrupt political insider in Disraeli's 1844 novel Coningsby. He followed Gilmour's advice, becoming, as The Guardian's Simon Hoggart said, "the father of the modern parliamentary sketch": Levin made no pretence of even-handedness. There were politicians he liked and politicians he did not like. For those in the latter category, "Taper's lacerations wounded". He invented unflattering nicknames; he wrote later, "I did not (though I wish I had) think of calling Sir Hartley Shawcross Sir Shortly Floorcross, but I did call Sir Reginald Manningham-Buller Sir Reginald Bullying-Manner". When the latter was elevated to the peerage as Lord Dilhorne, Levin renamed him Lord Stillborn.
  • 1955
    Age 26
    While still at Truth, Levin was invited to write a column in The Manchester Guardian about ITV, Britain's first commercial television channel, launched in 1955.
    More Details Hide Details Mooney describes his television reviews as "notably punchy" and The Times wrote, "Levin took out his shotgun and let loose with both barrels". Levin gave the opening programmes a kindly review, but by the fourth day of commercial television he was beginning to baulk: "There has been nothing to get our teeth into apart from three different brands of cake-mix and a patent doughnut". Thereafter, he did not spare the network: "cliché succeeded to cliché"; "a mentally defective aborigine who was deaf in both ears would have little difficulty in leaving 'Double Your Money' £32 richer than when he entered"; and after the network's first hundred days he attributed its viewing figures to the "number of people who are sufficiently stupid to derive pleasure from such programmes".
  • 1953
    Age 24
    In 1953, Levin applied for a job on the weekly periodical Truth.
    More Details Hide Details The paper had recently been taken over by the liberal publisher Ronald Staples who together with his new editor Vincent Evans was determined to cleanse it of its previous right-wing racist reputation. Levin's noticeably Jewish surname, together with such skills as he had acquired in shorthand and typing, gained him immediate acceptance. He was offered the post of "general editorial dogsbody, which was exactly what I had been looking for". After a year, Evans left and was succeeded by his deputy, George Scott; Levin was promoted in Scott's place. He wrote for the paper under a variety of pseudonyms, including "A.E. Cherryman".
  • 1952
    Age 23
    Having graduated from the LSE in 1952, Levin worked briefly as a tour guide, and then joined the BBC's North American Service.
    More Details Hide Details His job was to read all the newspapers and weekly magazines, selecting articles that might be useful for broadcasting.
  • 1945
    Age 16
    He battled on many fronts at Christ's Hospital: he was a Jew at a Church of England establishment; he was from a poor family; he was slight of stature; he was utterly indifferent to sport; he adopted a Marxist stance, hanging the Red Flag from a school window to celebrate the Labour victory in 1945.
    More Details Hide Details In the local streets, the school's conspicuous uniform, including a cloak and tight stockings, attracted unwanted attention. Levin's biographer Bel Mooney writes of this period, "Jeers put iron in his soul". Among the consolations of Christ's Hospital was its thriving musical life. At concerts by the school orchestra (whose members included Levin's contemporary, Colin Davis), Levin listened seriously to music for the first time. The food at the school was no such consolation; according to Levin it was so appalling that there must be something better to be found, and from his late teens he sought out the best restaurants he could afford. Levin hoped to go to the University of Cambridge, but, as his obituarist in The Times wrote, he "was not considered Oxbridge material". He was accepted by the London School of Economics (LSE), where he studied from 1948 to 1952. His talents were recognised and encouraged by LSE tutors including Karl Popper and Harold Laski; Levin's deep affection for both did not prevent his perfecting a comic impersonation of the latter. Levin became a skilled debater; he wrote for the student newspaper The Beaver, on a range of subjects, not least opera, which became one of his lifelong passions.
  • 1928
    Born in 1928.
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