In 1928, Levant traveled to
At this time,
In the early 1950s,
Between 1958 and 1960, Levant hosted a television talk show on KCOP-TV in
The show was highly controversial, eventually being taken from the air after a comment about Marilyn Monroe’s'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
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
Open about his neuroses and hypochondria, in later life
He is widely regarded as having been the inspiration for furtive lover Henry Orient in the novel by Nora Johnson, subsequently turned into a
Levant died in
Note by the Blog Author
Oscar Levant worked closely with George Gershwin and may have been the best and most definitive interpreter of Gershwin's piano work (some of these recordings are still available). There was never anything, before or since, on television like Levant's television talk show. He remains famous to this day to some baby boomers who watched his regular appearances on Jack Paar's primetime talk show from 1962 to 1965.
Levant's neuroses affected his health and ruined his career as a pianist. But there was something heroic about him, because he knew this about himself, and he never lost his wit or comedic timing.