b. 28 August 1905, Russia, d. 28 December 1980, New York, USA. Some sources suggest that this popular stage and screen character actor was born in New York. However, it seems more likely that he was taken to the USA in 1907, and became a naturalized citizen some 30 years later. After graduating from high school, Levene attended the American Academy of Dramatic Art in New York from 1925-27, and made his Broadway debut almost immediately in Wall Street (1927). The Depression made work scarce, but Levene persevered, and after making an impression in Dinner At Eight (1932), he established himself as a fine actor with Three Men On A Horse (1935). His hustling, fast-talking, streetwise style meant he was a natural choice for the role of Nathan Detroit, the operator of ‘the oldest established permanent floating crap game in New York’, in Guys And Dolls (1950). Levene reprised his role for London audiences in 1953, but was overlooked by producers of the film version, who preferred Frank Sinatra in the part. Although the remainder of his career was mostly spent in Hollywood film studios and the straight theatre, where he is particularly remembered for his performances in The Devil’s Advocate (1961, Tony Awards nomination) and Neil Simon’s 1972 hit, The Sunshine Boys, Levene did star in two more Broadway musicals, Let It Ride (1961, as Patsy) and Café Crown (1964, as Hymie). He continued to sigh and shrug in projects of variable quality on stage and screen until shortly before his death.