Harvey Robert Levin (born September 2, 1950) is an American television producer, lawyer, legal analyst and celebrity reporter. He is the founder of celebrity news website TMZ and also the host of OBJECTified, which airs on the Fox News Channel.
Levin in 2010
|Born||Harvey Robert Levin
September 2, 1950
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Education||University of California, Santa Barbara (B.A. 1972)
University of Chicago Law School (J.D. 1975)
|Occupation||Television producer, lawyer, legal analyst, and celebrity reporter|
|Known for||Founder of TMZ|
|Partner(s)||Andy Mauer, D.C.|
Early life and educationEdit
Levin was born September 2, 1950, in Los Angeles County, California to a Jewish family. He attended high school at Grover Cleveland High School in Reseda, Los Angeles and graduated in 1968 with honors. Levin attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he graduated with a B.A. in political science in 1972. He later attended the University of Chicago Law School and graduated with a J.D. in 1975.
Early law career and academiaEdit
Levin was an active attorney in the state of California from December 18, 1975, until January 1, 1996. In the mid-70s, Levin taught law at the University of Miami School of Law under Soia Mentschikoff. He briefly practiced in Los Angeles before returning to teach at Whittier College School of Law.
The introduction and debate surrounding California Proposition 13 in 1978 pushed Levin into the public's eye following his performances in a number of public debates. With his new found fame, he started to contribute legal advice on a radio show where he was nicknamed "Doctor Law", as well as write columns for the Los Angeles Times. His columnist career with the Times spanned seven years.
Transition to entertainmentEdit
Levin's first television job was for Los Angeles-based KNBC-TV in 1982 where he covered legal issues. He would later join KCBS-TV and spent a decade doing investigative reporting and legal analysis at the station. His television career rose to prominence from his coverage of the O. J. Simpson murder case where he was regularly on-camera.
He also worked on The People's Court after impressing a crew member with his legal analysis. In March 1997, he named co-executive producer and on-air legal anchor of the show from consultant. Also, Carol Martin was named anchor. He has worked on The People's Court in some capacity for 25 years. With his entertainment career thriving, Levin deactivated his bar registration in 1996. He later created Celebrity Justice, which ran from 2002 to 2005.
In 2005, AOL and Telepictures Productions launched TMZ with Levin as the founder and managing editor. The website quickly rose to prominence when it broke the story of Mel Gibson's DUI arrest and subsequent antisemitic rant. It would later break the news regarding a number of high-profile celebrity stories including the abuse of Rihanna by Chris Brown, the deaths of Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy, and Michael Jackson. The Los Angeles Times named TMZ's coverage of the Jackson death as the biggest story the website had covered to date.
Levin met with President Donald Trump on March 7, 2017 in the Oval Office and chatted for an hour. Levin "just really likes powerful people, and he really likes having friends who are powerful, and who better than the President of the United States? I think he’s just blinded by the fact that the President calls him on the phone. I think he just thinks that’s really cool,” a former staffer told ThinkProgress.
In 1985, Levin wrote The People's Court: How to Tell It to the Judge, a book that reviewed and provided commentary on several cases that appeared on the program People's Court. The Library Journal said they "recommended [the book] for public libraries."
Harvey Levin Productions, the company that produces TMZ and Levin's other media projects, was created in 1983 after Levin joined The People's Court. In addition to creating Celebrity Justice, Harvey Levin Productions produced Beyond Twisted, which aired in 2009 for one season before getting cancelled.
Another creation, Famous in 12, was a 2014 experiment on The CW about exploiting a family for fame. Like Beyond Twisted, Famous in 12 was cancelled after one season with only five of the scheduled twelve episodes aired.
Levin is also the current host of Fox News' OBJECTified. In November 2016, the first episode of OBJECTified aired on the Fox News Channel. Levin interviewed Donald Trump, the episode was taped prior to Trump's election victory. In September 2017 Fox News picked up the series. The show officially started to air weekly with Levin continuing his role as host. It currently airs every Sunday at 8:00 PM Eastern time. Every episode is pre-taped.
Levin appeared as an event speaker for the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association in April 2010 in which he publicly confirmed his self-identification as gay. He discussed his fear of losing his career if someone were to find out, which led to Levin compartmentalizing his personal and professional lives.
Levin's longtime partner is Andy Mauer, a Southern California chiropractor. The two own multiple properties together, sharing joint-deed listings since the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Levin has been named to Out magazine's "Power 50" list as one of the most influential voices in LGBT America since 2012 when he was named #15. He has since been named #25 in 2013, #34 in 2014, #48 in 2015, and #40 in 2016.
- The People's Court: How to Tell it to the Judge (1985)
Awards and honorsEdit
For his broadcast work, Levin has won nine Emmys.
- "State Bar of CA, Harvey Robert Levin". members.calbar.ca.gov. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- Beale, Lauren (February 24, 2015). "Exclusive details: Harvey Levin of TMZ hunts for a renter". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "Harvey Levin." Biography in Context. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Gale Biography In Context. Web. April 17, 2011.
- "Harvey Levin." Newsmakers. Vol. 4. Detroit: Gale, 2011. Gale Biography In Context. Web. April 17, 2011.
- Harris, Paul (October 24, 2009). "How TMZ's high prince of sleaze became the King of Hollywood". The Guardian. London. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "FAMOUS AND INFAMOUS CAVALIERS". www.clevelandhs.org. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- Burch, Tina (February 20, 2009). "Cleveland High School 50th". dailynews.mycapture.com. Retrieved August 25, 2015.[permanent dead link]
- Wu, Gwendolyn (April 29, 2015). "UCSB Alum Harvey Levin Speaks on Changes in Media". The Bottom Line. Santa Barbara, California. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- Safranek, Lynn (October 18, 2010). "Harvey Levin, '75, of TMZ Tells Students Why His JD Matters". www.law.uchicago.edu/. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- Klein, Asher (September–October 2013). "In the court of public opinion". The University of Chicago Magazine. Chicago. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- Clehane, Diane (July 8, 2009). "So What Do You Do, Harvey Levin, Executive Producer and Host, TMZ?". mediabistro.com. Archived from the original on 2012-11-04. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "Levin to preside in `Court'". Electronic Media. 16 (13): 22. March 24, 1997.
- Lafayette, Jon (December 12, 2005). "TMZ Targets TV Newsmagazines". Television Week. 24 (50): 6–26.
- Ray, Rachel (November 10, 2011). "Harvey Levin, founder of celebrity news website TMZ: 'We would never hack phones'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- Shields, Mike (December 8, 2005). "AOL Launches TMZ.com". www.mediaweek.com. Archived from the original on February 19, 2006. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- Collins, Scott; James, Meg (June 28, 2009). "Michael Jackson may be turning point for TMZ". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "Trump Grants Oval Office Meeting to TMZ Founder".
- Legum, Judd (June 27, 2017). "The inside story of how TMZ quietly became America's most potent pro-Trump media outlet". ThinkProgress. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
- Twitchell, Anne (February 1, 1985). "The People's Court". Library Journal. 110 (2): 109.
- "TMZ's Beyond Twisted Replaced By New Reality Show". www.anorak.co.uk. July 22, 2009. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- Ryan, Patrick (June 2, 2014). "'Famous in 12' pushes the insta-celeb envelope". USA Today. Tysons Corner, Virginia. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "'Famous In 12' Announces Its Own Cancellation On Air After TMZ Unable To Make Family Stars In 5". deadline.com. July 3, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- Hernandez, Greg (April 23, 2010). "TMZ's Harvey Levin talks about being gay in the news business: "I was so terrified that somebody would find out."". greginhollywood.com. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- gosset-bernheim, hadrien. "Hollywood veut sa peau" (PDF). Hollywood veut sa peau (in French): 110–115. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
- David, Mark (March 2, 2013). "TMZ Boss Harvey Levin Lists Sunset Strip Digs". Variety. Los Angeles. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- Gupta, Rapti (March 2, 2013). "TMZ's Harvey Levin Lists Sunset Strip Home for $5.3 Million". www.realtytoday.com. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- Denton, Nick (February 9, 2008). "Harvey Levin's Muscular Masseur". gawker.com. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "The Power List: HARVEY LEVIN". Out. April 17, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "Power List 2013: HARVEY LEVIN". Out. April 10, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "Power List 2014: HARVEY LEVIN". Out. April 15, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "Power 50: Harvey Levin". Out. April 15, 2015. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "The 10th Annual Power List". 14 April 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
- Kilday, Gregg (May 2, 1997). "To live and fry in L.A.". Entertainment Weekly (377): 41.