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Eugene Levy

Levy at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival
Born December 17, 1946 (1946-12-17) (age 63)
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Occupation Actor, producer, director, musician, writer
Years active 1971–present
Spouse(s) Deborah Divine (1977–present)

Eugene Levy (born December 17, 1946) is a Canadian actor, television director, producer, musician and writer. He is known for his work in Canadian television series, American movies and television movies. He is the only actor to have starred in all seven of the American Pie movies: American Pie, American Pie 2, American Wedding, Band Camp, The Naked Mile, Beta House and The Book of Love.

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Early life

Levy was born to a Jewish family[1] in Hamilton, Ontario. His father was a foreman in an automobile plant. He went to Westdale Secondary School, and attended McMaster University. He was vice president of the McMaster Film Board, a student film group where he met moviemaker Ivan Reitman.

Career

An alumnus of both Second City Toronto and the sketch comedy series SCTV, Levy often plays unusual supporting characters with nerdish streaks. Perhaps his best known role on SCTV was as the dimwitted Earl Camembert, a news anchor for the "SCTV News" and a parody of real-life Canadian newsman Earl Cameron. Celebrities impersonated by Levy on SCTV include: Perry Como, Ricardo Montalban, Alex Trebek, Sean Connery, Howard Cosell, Henry Kissinger, Menachem Begin, Bud Abbott, Milton Berle, John Charles Daly, Gene Shalit, Jack Carter, Muammar al-Gaddafi, Tony Dow, James Caan, Lorne Greene, Rex Reed, Ralph Young (of Sandler and Young), F. Lee Bailey, Ernest Borgnine, former Ontario chief coroner Dr. Morton Schulman, Norman Mailer, Neil Sedaka and Howard McNear as “Floyd the Barber”.

Other Levy characterizations were serious comic Bobby Bittman, scandal sheet entrepreneur Dr. Rawl Withers, “report on business” naïf Brian Johns, 3-D horror auteur Woody Tobias Jr., cheerful Leutonian accordionist Stan Schmenge, lecherous dream interpreter Raoul Wilson, hammer-voiced sports broadcaster Lou Jaffe, diminutive union patriarch Sid Dithers ("San Francisckie! Did you drove or did you flew?"), fey current-events commentator Joel Weiss, buttoned-down panel show moderator Dougal Currie, smarmy Just for Fun emcee Stan Kanter, energetic used car salesman Al Peck, guileless security guard Gus Gustofferson, Phil the Garment King (also of Phil's Nails) and inept dance show host Rockin’ Mel Slirrup.

Though he has been the “above the title” star in only two films, 1986’s Armed and Dangerous and 2005’s The Man, he has featured prominently in many films. He is the co-writer and frequent cast member of Christopher Guest’s mockumentary features, particularly A Mighty Wind, where his sympathetic performance as brain-damaged folksinger Mitch Cohen won kudos; his accolades included a Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor - Musical or Comedy and the prestigious New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor. In the 1980s, he appeared in Splash, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Club Paradise, Stay Tuned and other comedies. Levy was the creator of Maniac Mansion, a television sitcom based on the LucasArts video game of the same name. He was also seriously considered for the role of Toby Ziegler on The West Wing, a role that went to actor Richard Schiff.

His career received a tremendous boost in 1999, when he was cast as the clueless but loving dad in the sleeper blockbuster American Pie. Reprised the role in two film sequels and starring in three straight-to-video sequels made him something of a cult hero. In 2002, following the success of the American Pie franchise, Levy signed a contract to make an additional three American Pie movies for a combined ten thousand dollars, forgoing an originally large, six figures salary. The decision was later discussed in an interview in which Levy pointed to a similar story of Bill Murray turning down a large salary to make the Wes Anderson movie Rushmore. Levy has been quoted as saying the American Pie series was particular turning point in his career, affording him "a new perspective on his career at the time". Since working on the first two American Pie movies, Levy has worked with Steve Martin and Queen Latifah in Bringing Down the House, and most recently appeared with Martin in Cheaper by the Dozen 2.

Levy, along with Christopher Guest and Michael McKean, was awarded the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television, or Other Visual Media for the title song from A Mighty Wind. Levy appeared in the corner of a poster hanging outside the movie theatre in Springfield in the "See Homer Run" episode of The Simpsons. (The poster was advertising for Rockstar Princess and featured a girl with an electric guitar, with Levy in the corner wearing a royal crown. A liner note under him read “Eugene Levy as the King”).

In March 2006, it was announced that he would receive a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. In 2002, the entire cast of SCTV was given a group star, and although Levy is not mentioned on the actual star, he was still inducted as a part of the group. This makes him one of only four two-time honourees, alongside fellow SCTV alumni John Candy, Martin Short and Catherine O'Hara.

Levy is one of only a handful of people who have won at least five Canadian Comedy Awards, including two for Best Writing (Best In Show in 2001 and A Mighty Wind in 2004) and three for Best Male Performer (Best in Show, American Pie 2 in 2002 and A Mighty Wind).

On May 3, 2008, the Governor General of Canada presented Levy with the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards (GGPAA), a lifetime achievement award considered Canada's "most prestigious artistic honour".[2] In 2009 he played the funny Albert Einstein bobble heads in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, who likes to not be touched by the head.

Levy again appeared as his famous character Noah Levenstein in the upcoming seventh movie in the American Pie franchise, American Pie Presents: The Book of Love. He is the only actor to appear in all seven American Pie films.

Personal life

He is married to TV writer Deborah Divine, and together they have two children. His son, Dan Levy, is a former host of Canada’s MTV Live and current host of MTV's The After Show, and his daughter, Sarah, studies theatre at Dalhousie University.

Levy is an advocate for autism treatment, and was a close friend of fellow Canadian Second City/SCTV alumnus John Candy, who died of a heart attack.

In popular culture

The New York City band Worst Case Ontario has a song devoted to Levy called "Eugene Levy Unbilled", referring to Levy's brief—but in actuality not unbilled—appearance in Serendipity.

Filmography

References

External links








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