Name:
Eugene Levy
Birth Date:
December 17, 1946
Birth Place:
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Height:
5' 10
Nationality:
Canadian
Famous for:
A performer and writer on sitcom Second City TV (1977-81)
Profession:
Actor, Director, Producer
Education:
Westdale High School in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
BIOGRAPHY
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A Mighty Wind

Background:

“I love comedy. Playing the underdog and getting the laughs is my form of entertainment. I could think of nothing different that I would want to be doing at this time in my life.” Eugene Levy

Canadian comic actor Eugene Levy rose to fame in the 1970s as a writer and performer on the noted sketch comedy series “Second City TV” (1976-1981), “SCTV Network 90” (1981-1983) and “SCTV Channel” (1983–1984). He won two Emmy Awards for his writing job on “SCTV Network 90.” He created a number of unforgettable characters for the show, including comic Bobby Bittman and news broadcaster Earl Camembert and was famous for his impersonations of such public figures as James Caan, Sean Connery and Howard Cosell. On the silver screen, the star of Ivan Reitman's “Cannibal Girls” (1973), from which he nabbed a Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival Award for his performance, is most popular for playing the eccentric father on the box office hit “American Pie” (1999, won a Blockbuster Entertainment Award) and the sequels “American Pie 2” (2001, nabbed a Canadian Comedy Award) and “American Wedding” (2003). He also received recognition collaborating with writer, director and actor Christopher Guest. Their debut, “Waiting for Guffman” (1996), which Levy wrote with Guest, garnered the duo an Independent Spirit nomination. They also scored victory with the hit “Best in Show” (2000), from which Levy took home two Canadian Comedy Awards for his acting and writing, and the comedy “A Mighty Wind” (2003). Serving as a co-writer and performer, Levy earned two Canadian Comedy Awards, a Golden Satellite Award, a New York Film Critics Circle Award, a Grammy Award and a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award. They also co-wrote and acted together in “For Your Consideration” (2006), which was directed by Guest. Levy's other film credits include “National Lampoon's Vacation” (1983), “Father of the Bride Part II” (1995), “Down to Earth” (2001), “Bringing Down the House” (2003), “Cheaper by the Dozen 2” (2005), “Over the Hedge” (2006, voice of porcupine Lou), “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” (2009, voice of Einstein) and Ang Lee's “Taking Woodstock” (2009).

Levy currently lives in Toronto with his wife Deborah Divine. The couple has two kids together. Their son, Dan Levy, hosted Canada's “MTV Live” in 2006.


Butch

Childhood and Family:

Eugene Levy was born on December 17, 1946, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and was raised in a Jewish family. He attended Westdale Secondary School in Hamilton, Ontario, and after graduating studied film at McMaster University in the same city. While there, he became the vice president of the McMaster Film Board, a student film group. Eugene's schoolmates included Ivan Reitman, Dave Thomas and Martin Short.

In 1977, Eugene, whose nickname is Butch, married Deborah Divine. They have one son named Daniel Levy (born in 1983) and one daughter named Sarah Levy.


American Pie

Career:

Toronto native Eugene Levy began performing in high school and went on to study the craft in college where he was part of the McMaster's ensemble theater. He later performed at the Yale Drama Festival for three consecutive years and joined Toronto's celebrated Second City comedy troupe. He left after two seasons to start a new company in California with John Candy and Joe Flaherty. The venture failed and Levy made his way back to Toronto where he found work in theater in a production of “Godspell” (1972-1973), opposite Dave Thomas, Martin Short, Andrea Martin, Gilda Radner and Paul Shaffer. Levy made his feature film acting debut with Martin in director Ivan Reitman's “Cannibal Girls” (1973), where he was cast as Clifford Sturges. The role brought Levy a Medalla Sitges en Plata de Ley for Best Actor at the Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival.

Levy was reunited with Joe Flaherty, John Candy, Dave Thomas and Andrea Martin in the acclaimed sketch comedy series “Second City TV” (1976-1981). After the third season ended, the show was picked up by NBC as a mid season replacement and broadcasted under the title “SCTV Network 90,” which went on to run until 1983. The sixth and final season of the show aired on Superchannel in Canada and Cinemax in the United States under the new name “SCTV Channel.” During his stint on the show, Levy became known for some of his characters and for impersonating Ricardo Montalban and Henry Kissinger, among others. Aside from performing, he also served as a writer and co-won Emmys in the category of Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program for his work.

Levy made his TV producing debut on the HBO special “The Last Polka” (1985), a mock documentary on a fictional polka group, which he also wrote and starred in. His TV directorial debut arrived three years later with “Autobiographies: The Enigma of Bobby Bittman” (Cinemax, 1988), in which he also served as executive producer and writer and starred in as the title character. He then directed a TV special for Martin Short titled “I, Martin Short, Goes Hollywood” (1989). During the 1980s, Levy could also be seen acting in several movies, including “National Lampoon's Vacation” (1983), Ron Howard's “Splash” (1984, opposite Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah and John Candy), Mark L. Lester's “Armed and Dangerous” (1986, reunited with John Candy) and Robin Williams' vehicle “Club Paradise” (1986, also directed by Ramis). He then appeared in the TV movie “Bride of Boogedy” (1987).

Levy kicked off the 1990s by making his debut as a series creator with Family Channel's “Maniac Mansion” (1990), a fantasy sitcom loosely adapted from the Lucasfilm computer game of the same title, which he also wrote, executive produced and directed episodes. Starring Joe Flaherty, Deborah Theaker and Kathleen Robertson, the comedy series ran from September 1990 to April 1993. He also appeared as Doc Ellis in an episode called “Freddy had a Little Lamb.” Meanwhile, in 1992, he made his feature directing debut with “Once Upon a Crime,” a comedy starring Richard Lewis, John Candy, Jim Belushi, Cybill Shepherd and Ornella Muti. He then directed the TV film “Partners 'n Love,” which aired that same year. He went on to direct the Showtime movie “Sodbusters” (1994), which he also co-wrote, executive produced and contributed to the song “The Sodbusters Song.”

Levy next appeared in Peter Hyams' “Stay Tuned” (1992), Charles Shyer's “I Love Trouble (1994), opposite Nick Nolte and Julia Roberts, and the Steve Martin vehicle “Father of the Bride Part II” (1995), where he was cast as Mr. Habib, Martin's mysterious neighbor. He also supported Michael Keaton and Andie MacDowell in Harold Ramis' comedy “Multiplicity” (1996), but it was the Christopher Guest helmed “Waiting for Guffman” (1996), which put him back in the spotlight. Levy co-wrote the screenplay with Guest and also costarred as Dr. Alan Pearl in the film. For his writing effort, he shared an Independent Spirit nomination in the category of Best Screenplay.

Following a series’ regular role on the ABC sitcom “Hiller & Diller” (1997), Levy was reunited with Martin Short in the comedy “Akbar's Adventure Tours” (1998) and director Guest on “Almost Heroes” (1998), which starred Chris Farley and Matthew Perry. He again co-wrote with Guest for “D.O.A.,” (1999) played the father of Majandra Delfino in “The Secret Life of Girls” (1999) and had a supporting role in the independent comedy “Dogmatic” (1999). The actor enjoyed additional prominence with his role of Jason Biggs' father in the highly successful comedy “American Pie” (1999). He was handed a Blockbuster Entertainment for Favorite Supporting Actor - Comedy and an American Comedy nomination for Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for his performance.

Levy teamed up again with Guest in 2000 to write the satire “Best in Show,” in which Guest also cast Levy in the role of Gerald Fleck, a man with two left feet. For his work, Levy picked up Canadian Comedy awards for Pretty Funny Male Performance and Pretty Funny Writing and a Writers Guild of America nomination for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. He next supported Tim Meadows in the comedy “The Ladies Man” (2000, directed by Reginald Hudlin), worked with Cris Rock on the remake “Down to Earth” (2001, helmed by the Weitz Brothers) and reprised his role in “American Pie 2” (2001). The latter performance won the actor a Canadian Comedy for Pretty Funny Male Performance. He then appeared in Peter Chelsom's “Serendipity” (2001), starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, and in supporting roles in National Lampoon's “Repli-Kate” (2002), directed by Frank Longo, and John Schultz's “Like Mike” (2002), starring rapper Lil' Bow Wow, Morris Chestnut, Jonathan Lipnicki and Brenda Song. Still in 2002, he returned to series TV as a regular on the Fox short lived series “Greg the Bunny.” He also had the notable recurring role of Dr. Barry Wasserman in two episodes of the brief lived comedy series “Off Centre” (2002), which was created by the Weitz brothers.

In 2003, Levy once again gained attention with his work in the comedy “A Mighty Wind,” directed by Guest. He was handed a Canadian Comedy for Film - Pretty Funny Performance - Male, a Florida Film Critics Circle for Best Ensemble Cast, a New York Film Critics Circle for Best Supporting Actor, a Golden Satellite for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical and a Phoenix Film Critics Society nomination for Best Ensemble Acting for his acting job. He also co-wrote the script with Guest, for which he earned an Independent Spirit nomination for Best Screenplay and a Canadian Comedy for Film - Pretty Funny Writing, and co-wrote and performed the theme song “A Mighty Wind,” from which he jointly nabbed a Grammy for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media, a Broadcast Film Critics Association's Critics Choice Award for Best Song and a Seattle Film Critics for Best Music for his efforts. Also in 2003, Levy was memorable for his performances in Adam Shankman's hit comedy “Bringing Down the House,” starring Steve Martin and Queen Latifah, and Troy Miller's “Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd,” starring Mimi Rogers. He then returned to the “American Pie” series for the third sequel “American Wedding,” which was directed by Jesse Dylan, and portrayed Bobby Bittman in two episodes of “Just for Laughs.”

Levy next portrayed Max Lomax, a fanatical truant officer, in “New York Minute” (2004), opposite Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, starred with Samuel L. Jackson in Les Mayfield's “The Man” (2005), played Carmen Electra's husband in “Cheaper by the Dozen 2” (2005) and reprised his role of Noah Levenstein in the direct to video “American Pie Presents: Band Camp” (2005). He would return to the “American Pie” franchise for the direct to video sequels “American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile” (2006), “American Pie Presents Beta House” (2007) and “American Pie Presents: The Book of Love” (2009). Levy also costarred as Morley Orfkin in “For Your Consideration” (2006), which he co-wrote with director Christopher Guest. The same year, he voiced a porcupine named Lou in the animated “Over the Hedge” (2006), based on characters from the United Media Syndicate comic strip of the same name, and Clovis in “Curious George” (2006). In 2009, Levy had a notable supporting role in “Gooby” (2009), a family film written and directed by Wilson Coneybeare. He then teamed up with Demetri Martin, Imelda Staunton, Henry Goodman, Liev Schreiber, Jonathan Groff, Emile Hirsch and Paul Dano in Ang Lee's “Taking Woodstock” (2009). The same year, his voice could be heard as Einstein in “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” and as Orrin in “Astro Boy,” a computer animated film loosely based on Osamu Tezuka's long running Japanese series of the same name.

Levy is rumored to be portraying Rabbi Gould in the upcoming film “Punctured,” directed by Shari Hamrick. The comedy is scheduled to be released in 2011.


Awards:

  • Grammy: Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media, “A Mighty Wind,” 2004

  • Broadcast Film Critics Association: Best Song, “A Mighty Wind,” 2004

  • Florida Film Critics Circle: Best Ensemble Cast, “A Mighty Wind,” 2004

  • Canadian Comedy: Film - Pretty Funny Performance - Male, “A Mighty Wind,” 2004

  • Canadian Comedy: Film - Pretty Funny Writing, “A Mighty Wind,” 2004

  • Satellite: Golden Satellite, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical, “A Mighty Wind,” 2004

  • Seattle Film Critics: Best Music, “A Mighty Wind,” 2003

  • New York Film Critics Circle: Best Supporting Actor, “A Mighty Wind,” 2003

  • Canadian Comedy: Film - Pretty Funny Male Performance, “American Pie 2,” 2002

  • Canadian Comedy: Film - Pretty Funny Male Performance, “Best in Show,” 2001

  • Canadian Comedy: Film - Pretty Funny Writing, “Best in Show,” 2001

  • Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Supporting Actor - Comedy, “American Pie,” 2000

  • Gemini: Earle Grey, 1995

  • Banff Television Festival: Sir Peter Ustinov Award, 1994

  • Emmy: Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program, “SCTV Network 90,” 1983

  • Emmy: Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program, “SCTV Network 90,” 1982

  • Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival: Medalla Sitges en Plata de Ley, Best Actor, “Cannibal Girls,” 1973

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