Oscar Levant

(1906–72)

Oscar Levant

Anecdote 1...

During World War II, Oscar Levant appeared before the draft-board examiner. “Do you think you can kill?” the official asked. “I don’t know about strangers,” replied Oscar, “but friends, yes.”

Quote-worthy...

There are two sides to every question: my side and the wrong side.

~Oscar Levant

More Oscar Levant quotes

Anecdote 2...

Jack Paar, host of the Tonight Show, recalls Levant’s story of the time he and June, his wife, were guests of President and Mrs. Truman at the White House. As they were bidding their hosts goodnight, Oscar turned to June and said resignedly, “Now we have to have them over to dinner.”

Biographical Note: 

Oscar Levant was a U.S. pianist, writer, and wit, author of A Smattering of Ignorance (1940) and Memoirs of an Amnesiac (1965). Levant had an active career as a screen and radio humorist and his films include An American in Paris (1951). He is considered the premier interpreter of the music of George Gershwin.