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Oscar Levant

Oscar Levant



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Also Known As: Died: August 14, 1972
Born: December 27, 1906 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA Profession: Music ... pianist actor composer piano teacher


Raconteur, TV personality, concert pianist, self-described "verbal vampire" and sometime supporting player in films. Levant had originally planned a career as a concert pianist but, after playing in dance bands and becoming George Gershwin's protege, he devoted himself to interpreting the composer's works and, utilizing his own eccentric personality, played character parts or more accurately variations on his own character in films. He did, however, enjoy considerable success as a concert pianist and, at one point in the 1940s, was the highest paid concert artist in the US. Levant's film appearances, too, whether they were musicals or not, usually gave him a chance to play a piano as well. A chain-smoking neurotic and self-professed genius, Levant was noted for his mordant, scathing wit and finely honed insults often hurled against himself and his own hypochondria, manic depression and addictions.

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