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Oscar Levant
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    (December 27, 1906-August 14, 1972)
    Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    Concert pianist
    Wrote the standard 'Blame It on My Youth'
    Composed the scores for 20 movies
    Appeared in the films 'Humoresque' (1946), 'The Barkleys of Broadway' (1949), 'An American in Paris' (1951) and 'The Band Wagon' (1953)
    Regular panelist on the radio quiz show 'Information Please'
    Hosted his own talk show (1958-60)
    Wrote the autobiographies 'Memoirs of an Amnesiac' and 'The Unimportance of Being Oscar'
    He became better known for his wit than his music.
    His first marriage, to actress Barbara Woodell, lasted less than a year.
    In a typical day, he smoked four packs of cigarettes and drank 40 cups of coffee.
    He was a hypochondriac.
    He was addicted to tranquilizers.
    His second wife, June, frequently had him committed to mental hospitals.
    His talk show was taken off the air after he joked about Marilyn Monroe's conversion to Judaism, 'Now that Monroe is kosher, Arthur Miller can eat her.'
    In his heyday, he was considered the foremost interpreter of the works of George Gershwin.
    He was the highest-earning classical musician of the 1930s and 40s.
    His witticisms include, 'Strip the phony tinsel off Hollywood and you'll find the real tinsel underneath,' 'I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin,' and 'There is a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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