A Talent for Genius: The Life and Times of Oscar Levant

A Talent for Genius: The Life and Times of Oscar Levant


A Talent for Genius: The Life and Times of Oscar Levant [EPUB] ✰ A Talent for Genius: The Life and Times of Oscar Levant ✶ Sam Kashner – Centrumpowypadkowe.co.uk Oscar Levant was the Amadeus of Hollywood the Oscar Wilde of Broadway and the most wildly self destructive personality ever to become a household name An astonishingly gifted concert pianist composer Oscar Levant for Genius: Epub Ü was the Amadeus of Hollywood the Oscar Wilde of Broadway and the most wildly self destructive personality ever to become a household name An astonishingly gifted concert pianist composer film and stage presence radio A Talent Epub / and television raconteur insult wit and bestselling author Levant steered a maniacally masochistic course through seven glorious decades His death in at the age of left the entertainment community shocked largely with amazement that a Talent for Genius: PDF Ë four pack a day smoker with a history of drug abuse and mental illness had lasted as long as Levant did He made a national reputation for himself in the late 's as a brash brilliant 'expert' Talent for Genius: The Life MOBI :Ú on radio's famed uiz show 'Information Please' and as a fine concert pianist and the premier interpreter of George Gershwin's concert works He appeared in films usually as a best friend'Oscar Levant' type He played Gene Kelly's sidekick in 'An American in Paris' and a lovable hypochondriac in 'The Band Wagon ' and in the film biography 'Rhapsody in Blue ' he literally played himself Oscar Levant best friend to George Gershwin a role he knew all too well His hero worship of Gershwin stunted his confidence as a songwriter and a serious composer though one of his pop songs 'Blame It on My Youth ' has become a standard and Arnold Schoenberg Aaron Copeland and Virgil Thomson all thought Levant an immensely gifted composer Levant's addiction to Demerol following a heart attack in the early 's led to nearly a decade of drug dependency Already hobbled by complex superstitions meant to ward off the terrors of performing Levant was almost destroyed by his addictions But his intense neurosisdidn't keep him from appearing on television to talk about it His uncensored comments on 'The Jack Paar Show' and on his own local Los Angeles talk show made national news A Talent for Genius the result of exhausting research and hundreds of hours of interviews is a profoundly revelation.

  • Paperback
  • 512 pages
  • A Talent for Genius: The Life and Times of Oscar Levant
  • Sam Kashner
  • English
  • 03 July 2016
  • 9781879505391

10 thoughts on “A Talent for Genius: The Life and Times of Oscar Levant

  1. Rob Smith, Jr. Rob Smith, Jr. says:

    The authors of 'A Talent for Genius' do a rip roaring job of extensively unloading the very interesting life of Oscar Levant Probably anyone who does not know of Levant would wonder why anyone would read 431 pages about an obscure wit Those people should not read this book I'll go so far to add those who remember him fondly should read at least one of Levant's book prior to reading this bookThis is a terrific biography One of the best things of this book is that the reader can always know when they are in time Dates and tears are often detailed and even other goings on at the time to further help the reader follow the Levant story That becomes very important as nearly every year is covered and following Levant's schedules are critical to understand why and how his life comes apart I admire the work of recording Levant's early life Most biographies leave that to a chapter or so and move one This one does an outstanding job of placing the reader in the setting All of which becomes important again later in his storyAs I'm most interested in Levant's interaction with the brilliant wits of his time I was very pleased with how much is covered of the Algonuin Round Table gang Even better to read of stories of the gang I had never read before Loved the writers balance of what Levant actions were and then the reactions of the affected This is especially true of covering the Gershwin parts There are many perspectives covered All very enlighteningThe authors then go out of their way to write out the blow by blow story of Levant and his drug addiction and deterioration of his mental health It's riveting though a bit clunky at times I get the idea that editing this part was difficult with so much coming and going and coming and goingThere are a few dozen photographs included Wish there had been Also with the outcome of the rest of the Levant family had been included I know daughter Marcia died young and wonder if Levant's troubles transferred to his children History and from what i have read and experienced it typical does Bottom line For those familiar with Levant This is a book you must read For those unfamiliar Study first 9 out of ten pointsOverall this is a terrific work with obvious evidence of tremendous work

  2. Richard Richard says:

    Oscar Levant's Biography is a great read on a great man about townuotesBehind the phony tinsel of Hollywood lies the real tinselI am no humble than my talents reuireI can remember Doris Day before she was a virginI don't drink I don't like it It makes me feel goodI envy people who drink at least they know what to blame everything onI think a lot of Bernstein but not as much as he doesI'm a study of a man in chaos in search of frenzySchizophrenia beats dining aloneThere is a fine line between genius and insanity I have erased this lineUnderneath this flabby exterior is an enormous lack of characterWhat the world needs is geniuses with humility; there are so few of us left

  3. Lisa Lisa says:

    One of the best biographies I've ever read thorough balanced and compelling I have always loved Oscar Levant and this work does him justice

  4. Joy H. Joy H. says:

    Added 9609 Read in January 2016It took me over six years to get around to reading this book I'm glad that I had saved it on my To Read shelf I re discovered it while I was looking around for something to readThis is a compelling biography about pianist wit and performer Oscar Levant He suffered from many anxieties which prevented him from fulfilling all his potential but as the bio shows he was uite an accomplished musician performer and wit He's noted for his witticisms and the book is full of them There's a witticism at the beginning of each chapter The book's many anecdotes about his life and the famous people he socialized with kept me reading right to the endLevant loved the music of George Gershwin and one of the piano recordings he is famous for is Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue Levant also performed the music of many famous classical composers I was surprised to see how many classical performances he gave My own knowledge about him was limited to his role as a piano playing side kick in the movies years ago but he was involved in much including many radio shows in which showed himself to be extremely knowledgeable Levant's cynical witticisms are now famous They are amazingly clever most of them probably said right off the top of his head That's how his mind worked Many of his sayings are self deprecating His anxieties led to his addiction to anxiety relieving pills He was in and out of institutions but he kept on going spending many hours practicing for his piano performancesThis book is an excellent look at a man who wasn't fully appreciated while he lived The book shines a light on him so that he may be remembered and fully appreciated in the future FIVE STARSThey should make a movie about him but who could play such a part?Below are a couple of links to many of his uotes“I was once thrown out of a mental hospital for depressing the other patients” “It's not what you are it's what you don't become that hurts” “You can't possibly hear the last movement of Beethoven's Seventh and go slow Oscar trying to talk his way out of a speeding ticket” I've given up reading books I find it takes my mind off myself I think a lot of Bernstein but not as much as he doesHis uotes are like peanuts You can't get enough of them because they're so very cleverPS The Goodreads description of this book is excellent Very thorough See it at

  5. C A. C A. says:

    I've read many very well written biographies about many different people one I remember is Elsa Lanchester's Elsa Lanchester Herself I read this book about Oscar Levant shortly after it was released in 2005 and know I will read it again A Talent For Genius The Life and Times of Oscar Levant left me almost spellbound I had always liked enjoyed and admired Oscar Levant and this biography is by far the best I've read Many of my much younger friends may not have heard of Oscar Levant but to anyone I highly recommend this book Levant struggled greatly his whole life beginning with a very controlling and mean father because of his father he never felt he was good enough but his musical talent in my opinion even surpassed that of his best friend George Gershwin He was extremely adept with humor as well my favorite uote of his is I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin I liked and appreciated Levant well enough before I read this book and after reading it I had the pleasure to know him and of his life and talents deeply I applaud Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger for this superlative effort

  6. David David says:

    Comprehensive amusing a spur to many memories and a source of inspiration for further research and thank you YouTube But ultimately very sad — Levant was torturedSeveral years ago I read all three of Levant's books A Smattering of Ignorance essays on music including great material on Gershwin; written before Levant's acting career Memoirs of an Amnesic his life up to about 1963 including very funny material about his time in an insane asylum Overall a bit sad The Unimportance of Being Oscar some memoir some reflections on people he knew If one is interested in Oscar one should read those books as well as Kashner's biography which in some places has few sources other than Oscar's own writing

  7. Susan Emmet Susan Emmet says:

    I'm nearly 66 and I well remember talk and talk about Oscar Levant while we lived in New YorkThe way he grew up the burdens he borethe messes he created the people with whom he lived and partied the hopes and dreams and travels and travails the music he played and wrote and orchestrated his presence on TV and radio and in movies his devotion and obsessions and addictions and recoveries and the scope of Kashner's and Schoenberger's research amazing and riveting My father often said he wished he could be as acerbic and clever and talented as Oscar LevantTo have known the people he did to have hurt those he loved to have the command of language and music without much formal education amazingSo much that the authors capture about all those who were part of Levant's constellation and so much about the culture and times during his lifeOne of the finest biographies I've read

  8. Sarah Sarah says:

    I first learned of Oscar Levant in Harpo Speaks which led to me reading Oscar's first book A Smattering of Ignorance one of the greatest titles ever by the way After all of this I was totally intrigued by the man and so immediately checked A Talent for Genius out of the libraryIt's a well written and engrossing biography about a fascinating figure written with a good deal of empathy It can be hard to find a well balanced biography I find that they are often either hostile or defensive neither of which makes for a good book This book however managed to find the golden mean of biographies and so was both enjoyable and informative

  9. Tosh Tosh says:

    A great biography on the 'Oscar Wilde' of BroadwayManhattan The pil addicted wit had a sharp mouth as well as being a talented piano player Famous for going over to new friend Harpo Marx's house for dinner and not leaving for months sounded like a nightmare of a man to know yet hysterical Everything said outside his mouth was uotable and he was truly one of a kind figure in the showbiz world of Broadway and Hollywood

  10. Rachel Rachel says:

    This is one of the best biographies I've ever read I would give it than 5 stars if I could I have been an Oscar fan for a long time and he is by far my favorite pianist This book even through moments of sadness is smart and witty just like Oscar Levant

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