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Bernard Levin
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Commentator
    (August 19, 1928-August 7, 2004)
    Born in London, United Kingdom
    Birth name was Henry Bernard Levin
    Columnist for 'Truth' (1953-56), 'The Spectator' (1956-62), 'The Daily Express' (1959-62), 'The Daily Mail' (1962-70) and 'The Times' (1970-81,1982-97)
    Cast member of That Was The Week That Was (1962-63)
    Panelist on 'Face the Music' (1974-79)
    Wrote the books 'The Pendulum Years: Britain in the Sixties' (1970), 'Taking Sides' (1979), 'Enthusiasms' (1983), 'Hannibal's Footsteps' (1985), 'To the End of the Rhine' (1989), 'A Walk Up Fifth Avenue' (1991), 'A World Elsewhere' (1994) and 'Enough Said' (1998)
    Named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to journalism (1990)
    He was such an acerbic theater critic that he and Robert Muller, another Jewish critic at the 'Daily Mail,' were dubbed 'the kosher butchers.'
    Within weeks of joining 'The Times,' he provoked a libel suit from press baron (and his former boss at the 'Daily Mail') Lord Rothmere, which was settled out of court at a significant cost to 'The Times.'
    He liked to boast about appearing in the 'Guinness Book of Records' for writing the longest sentence printed in a newspaper: 1,667 words.
    He outdid himself in his book 'Enthusiasms, where he wrote a sentence that stretched over four pages.
    He likened the Watergate investigation to Joseph McCarthy's anti-Communist witch hunts.
    When he was 42, he began a long-term affair with 21-year-old Ariana Stassinopoulos (later known as Ariana Huffington).
    The relationship broke up because he refused to get married or have children.
    Huffington called him 'a mentor as a writer and a role model as a thinker,' making him indirectly responsible for the Huffington Post.
    During a mid-life crisis/'search for meaning,' he embraced the likes of faux psychic Uri Geller and Rolls-driving guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.
    At boarding school, he was picked on for being Jewish, poor and left-wing.
    The husband of an actress whose one-woman show he had panned punched him in the nose during a live airing of 'That Was The Week That Was.'
    He said his approach when writing about politics was 'I was watching a farce, from the front row of the stalls, with a glass of champagne in my hand.'
    He left the 'Daily Mail' when the paper's owners, despite having signed a contract giving him freedom to write whatever he chose, tried to pressure him into not endorsing the Labour Party in the 1970 general election.
    His frequent attacks on lawyers resulted in them blackballing him from the prestigious Garrick Club.
    He denounced both left and right-wing dictators, noting 'I am barred by the governments concerned from entering the Soviet Union and the lands of her empire on the one hand and South Africa on the other. These decrees constitute a pair of campaign medals that I wear with considerable pleasure and I have a profound suspicion of those who rebuke me for partisanship while wearing only one.'
    He was credited with coining the term 'nanny state' for increasing government intrusion into personal affairs.
    He declared, 'The pen is mightier than the sword -- and much easier to write with.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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