Gerald M. Levin

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For the U.S. federal judge, see Gerald Sanford Levin.
Not to be confused with the American businessman Jerry W. Levin.
Gerald Levin
Born Gerald Levin
(1939-05-06) May 6, 1939 (age 76)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Ethnicity Jewish
Spouse(s) Carol Needelman
Barbara Riley (divorced)
Children five

Gerald M. "Jerry" Levin (born May 6, 1939) is an American mass-media businessman.

Early life and education[edit]

Levin was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania[1] to a Jewish family of Russian and Romanian origins.[2][3] His father was a butter-and-egg businessman and his mother was a piano teacher.[1] He lived as a child in Overbrook Hills, a suburb of Philadelphia. He attended Haverford College, where he is a member of the Board of Directors. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1963.

Career and later life[edit]

Levin spent most of his career with Time Inc. (later Time Warner, then AOL Time Warner), starting as a programming executive for Home Box Office (HBO) and eventually becoming CEO of the corporation. Levin is probably most famous for having brokered the merger between AOL and Time Warner in 2000, at the height of the dot-com bubble, a merger which seemed to many to be disadvantageous to Time Warner as the bubble collapsed in the next few years. CNBC named him as one of the "Worst American CEOs of All Time".[4]

However, the New York Mag calls him, "perhaps the most powerful media executive in the world."[5] Levin was the primary pioneer for the production of the well loved television company, HBO among other accomplishments. Levin has moved forward from the past and hard criticisms from influential media outlets into a new creative space that will thrive and ultimately do what he has sought out to do from the beginning, as he says, "bring the poetry back into his life".[6] In 2013, Levin was named chairman of Elation Media, Inc., a live and on demand programming start-up launching in 2015, focusing on the worldwide holistic consumer market. He leaves us with this thought as he expressed to the New York Times, "I'm on a spiritual journey, and it's one that I intend to savor every step of the way. I want to be known as a social activist in education and mental health and, eventually, a writer."[7]

Philanthropic activities[edit]

In addition to being a businessman, Levin is a philanthropist; he is a supporter of Jewish causes and engages in other charitable and philanthropic work as well. He is a trustee and supporter of the Museum of Jewish Heritage,[8] among other charitable organizations.

Personal life[edit]

Levin has been married three times and fathered five children.[9] His first wife was Carol Needelman; they later divorced.[1] In 1970, he married his second wife, Barbara J. Riley;[1] they divorced in 2003.[10]

Murder of Jonathan Levin[edit]

One of his children, Jonathan Levin, a 31-year-old high school English teacher at Taft High School in the Bronx, was tortured and murdered on May 31, 1997 by one of his own students.[11][12] The student, Corey Arthur, was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in November 1998. A purported accomplice, Montoun Hart, was acquitted on the same charges in February 1999. While Hart had written a confession, jurors were not able to find out how it was obtained and felt it was unreliable.[13]

The murder occurred after Jonathan had mentioned in the classroom that his father was Time-Warner head Gerald M. Levin. The former student, Corey Arthur, assumed that Jonathan was wealthy. Arthur stole Jonathan's bank card and got the account's PIN, obtaining about $800 from the account.[14]

Jonathan Levin High School for Media and Communications in The Bronx, New York City, is named after the murdered teacher.

Further reading[edit]

  • Klein, Alec, Stealing Time: Steve Case, Jerry Levin, and the Collapse of AOL Time Warner (Simon & Schuster, 2003) ISBN 0-7432-5984-X


  1. ^ a b c d Reference for Business: "Gerald Levin - Retired chairman and chief executive officer, AOL Time Warner" retrieved March 29, 2015
  2. ^ To the End of Time: The Seduction and Conquest of a Media Empire. Simon & Schuster. Retrieved August 13, 2010. 
  3. ^ David Plotz (January 14, 2000). "Time Warner's Gerald Levin". Slate. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Stevenson, Seth. "The Believer". The New York Mag. Retrieved July 9, 2009. 
  6. ^ Halpern, Tim. "An Early Achiever Puts His Values First". Reference for Business. Retrieved 2004. 
  7. ^ Halpern, Tim. "A History Still Being Written". Reference for Business. Retrieved 2003. 
  8. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths LEVIN, JONATHAN". The New York Times. June 4, 1997. Retrieved August 7, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Gerald Levin". Heights - Jewish Business Ethics. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  10. ^ New York Times: "Private Sector; Which Kind of Merger Is Harder: The Corporate or the Marital?" by Geraldine Fabrikant January 12, 2003
  11. ^ David Rohde (December 11, 1998). "Jurors Convict Youth in Killing Of His Teacher". The New York Times. Retrieved April 25, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths LEVIN, JONATHAN". The New York Times. June 4, 1997. Retrieved August 7, 2012. 
  13. ^ Laura Italiano (February 12, 1999). "LEVIN-SLAY SUSPECT’S BOOZE & POT SPREE SETS HIM FREE". New York Post. 
  14. ^ "Jonathan Levin is tortured and killed by his former student". History Channel. May 30, 1997. 

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
Steve Ross
Time-Warner CEO
Succeeded by
Richard Parsons