Harvey Levin

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Harvey Levin
Levin in 2010
Harvey Robert Levin

(1950-09-02) September 2, 1950 (age 73)
EducationUniversity of California, Santa Barbara (BA)
University of Chicago (JD)
  • Television producer
  • lawyer
  • legal analyst
  • celebrity reporter
Known forFounder of TMZ
PartnerAndy Mauer

Harvey Robert Levin[1] (born September 2, 1950) is an American television producer, legal analyst, celebrity reporter, and former lawyer.[2] He is the founder of celebrity news website TMZ, and the former host of OBJECTified, which aired on the Fox News Channel.

Early life and education[edit]

Levin was born September 2, 1950, in Los Angeles County, California to a Jewish family.[3][4][5] He attended high school at Grover Cleveland High School in Reseda, Los Angeles and graduated in 1968 with honors.[6][7] Levin attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he graduated with a B.A. in political science in 1972.[8] He later attended the University of Chicago Law School and graduated with a J.D. in 1975.[9]


Early law career and academia[edit]

Levin was an active attorney in the state of California for two decades, from December 18, 1975, until January 1, 1996.[1] In the mid-1970s, he taught law at the University of Miami School of Law under Soia Mentschikoff.[9][10] He then practiced law briefly in Los Angeles before taking a position at Whittier College School of Law.[10][5][11]

In 1978, Levin came to public attention following a series of high-profile debates with Howard Jarvis, the co-author of Proposition 13, California's controversial property tax-reduction ballot measure, which Levin opposed.

With his newfound fame, Levin began to contribute legal advice on a radio show, where he was nicknamed "Doctor Law", as well as to write columns for the Los Angeles Times.[11][10][5] His columnist career with the Times spanned seven years.[11]

Transition to entertainment[edit]

Levin covered legal issues for KNBC-TV in 1982.[11] He subsequently joined KCBS-TV and spent a decade doing investigative reporting and legal analysis,[11][10][5] most notably covering the O. J. Simpson murder case.[11][10][5]

In 1997 he was named co-executive producer and on-air legal anchor for The People's Court. Levin remained on the show until its cancellation in July 2023.[10][12][11] He created Celebrity Justice, which ran from 2002 to 2005.[10][5]

Levin produced Beyond Twisted, which aired in 2009 for one season before being cancelled.[13] He created Famous in 12 (2014), an experiment in exploiting a family for quick fame,[14] but the show was cancelled after less than one season, with only five of the scheduled twelve episodes having aired.[15]

Since 2016, Levin has hosted the weekly prerecorded show OBJECTified on the Fox News Channel.[citation needed]


This is not television. It's rawer, it's urgent, it's less produced. I really think this is the future. People want to get what they can get on-demand, and they have as much access to a computer as they do a TV set.

—Levin in a 2005 interview with Television Week[16]

In 2005, AOL and Telepictures Productions launched TMZ with Levin as the founder and managing editor.[11][17][18] The website quickly rose to prominence when it broke the story of Mel Gibson's DUI arrest and subsequent antisemitic rant.[11][10][5][17] It continued to break a number of high-profile stories including the abuse of Rihanna by Chris Brown and the deaths of Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jackson.[5] The Los Angeles Times named TMZ's coverage of the Jackson death as the biggest story the website had covered to date.[19]

Other ventures[edit]

Harvey Levin Productions has produced Levin's media projects since he joined The People's Court in 1983 as the show's legal consultant.[10] In 1985, Levin wrote The People's Court: How to Tell It to the Judge, reviewing and providing commentary on several cases from the show.[20] The Library Journal "recommended [the book] for public libraries."[20]

Personal life[edit]

Levin appeared as an event speaker for the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association in April 2010 in which he publicly confirmed his self-identification as gay.[21] He discussed his fear of losing his career if someone were to find out, which led to Levin compartmentalizing his personal and professional lives.[21][22]

Levin's longtime partner is Andy Mauer, a chiropractor in southern California.[23][24][25] The two own multiple properties together, sharing joint-deed listings since the late 1990s and early 2000s.[23][24]

Levin has been named to Out magazine's "Power 50" list as one of the most influential voices in LGBT America since 2012 when he was named #15.[26] He has since been named #25 in 2013, #34 in 2014, #48 in 2015, and #40 in 2016.[27][28][29][30]


Levin supported Donald Trump in the run-up to the 2016 United States presidential election.[31] Following the election, he met with Trump in the Oval Office on March 7, 2017, and chatted for an hour.[32] However, all that changed by August 2018,[33] when he broke ties with Trump over the president's repeated attempts to establish a transgender military ban. He became an increasingly vocal opponent of Trump in the years following.[34][35]



  • The People's Court: How to Tell it to the Judge (1985)

Awards and honors[edit]

For his broadcast work, Levin has been nominated for nine Emmys.[17]


  1. ^ a b "State Bar of CA, Harvey Robert Levin". members.calbar.ca.gov. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  2. ^ Beale, Lauren (February 24, 2015). "Exclusive details: Harvey Levin of TMZ hunts for a renter". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  3. ^ "Harvey Levin." Biography in Context. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Gale Biography In Context. Web. April 17, 2011.
  4. ^ "Harvey Levin." Newsmakers. Vol. 4. Detroit: Gale, 2011. Gale Biography In Context. Web. April 17, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Harris, Paul (October 24, 2009). "How TMZ's high prince of sleaze became the King of Hollywood". The Guardian. London. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  6. ^ "FAMOUS AND INFAMOUS CAVALIERS". www.clevelandhs.org. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  7. ^ Burch, Tina (February 20, 2009). "Cleveland High School 50th". dailynews.mycapture.com. Retrieved August 25, 2015.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Wu, Gwendolyn (April 29, 2015). "UCSB Alum Harvey Levin Speaks on Changes in Media". The Bottom Line. Santa Barbara, California. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Safranek, Lynn (October 18, 2010). "Harvey Levin, '75, of TMZ Tells Students Why His JD Matters". www.law.uchicago.edu/. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Klein, Asher (September–October 2013). "In the court of public opinion". The University of Chicago Magazine. Chicago. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i Clehane, Diane (July 8, 2009). "So What Do You Do, Harvey Levin, Executive Producer and Host, TMZ?". mediabistro.com. Archived from the original on 2012-11-04. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  12. ^ "Levin to preside in 'Court'". Electronic Media. 16 (13): 22. March 24, 1997.
  13. ^ "TMZ's Beyond Twisted Replaced By New Reality Show". www.anorak.co.uk. July 22, 2009. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  14. ^ Ryan, Patrick (June 2, 2014). "'Famous in 12' pushes the insta-celeb envelope". USA Today. Tysons Corner, Virginia. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  15. ^ "'Famous In 12' Announces Its Own Cancellation On Air After TMZ Unable To Make Family Stars In 5". deadline.com. July 3, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  16. ^ a b Lafayette, Jon (December 12, 2005). "TMZ Targets TV Newsmagazines". Television Week. 24 (50): 6–26.
  17. ^ a b c Ray, Rachel (November 10, 2011). "Harvey Levin, founder of celebrity news website TMZ: 'We would never hack phones'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  18. ^ Shields, Mike (December 8, 2005). "AOL Launches TMZ.com". www.mediaweek.com. Archived from the original on February 19, 2006. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  19. ^ Collins, Scott; James, Meg (June 28, 2009). "Michael Jackson may be turning point for TMZ". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  20. ^ a b Twitchell, Anne (February 1, 1985). "The People's Court". Library Journal. 110 (2): 109.
  21. ^ a b Hernandez, Greg (April 23, 2010). "TMZ's Harvey Levin talks about being gay in the news business: "I was so terrified that somebody would find out."". greginhollywood.com. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  22. ^ gosset-bernheim, hadrien. "Hollywood veut sa peau" (PDF). Hollywood Veut Sa Peau (in French): 110–115. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  23. ^ a b David, Mark (March 2, 2013). "TMZ Boss Harvey Levin Lists Sunset Strip Digs". Variety. Los Angeles. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  24. ^ a b Gupta, Rapti (March 2, 2013). "TMZ's Harvey Levin Lists Sunset Strip Home for $5.3 Million". www.realtytoday.com. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  25. ^ Denton, Nick (February 9, 2008). "Harvey Levin's Muscular Masseur". gawker.com. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  26. ^ "The Power List: HARVEY LEVIN". Out. April 17, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  27. ^ "Power List 2013: HARVEY LEVIN". Out. April 10, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  28. ^ "Power List 2014: HARVEY LEVIN". Out. April 15, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  29. ^ "Power 50: Harvey Levin". Out. April 15, 2015. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  30. ^ "The 10th Annual Power List". 14 April 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  31. ^ Cartwright, Lachlan (14 July 2019). "TMZ Goes MAGA: How Harvey Levin's Gossip Empire Became Trump's Best Friend". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  32. ^ Grynbaum, Michael M. (8 March 2017). "Trump Grants Oval Office Meeting to TMZ Founder". The New York Times.
  33. ^ Serota, Maggie. "Report: Trump And TMZ's Harvey Levin Aren't Friends Anymore". Retrieved 25 March 2023.
  34. ^ "TMZ's Harvey Levin shares his opinion on President Trump and protesters". FOX 4 News Dallas-Fort Worth. 2 June 2020. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
  35. ^ Michaelson, Elex. "TMZ's Harvey Levin Says Donald Trump "Committed Treason" & Should be Prosecuted". YouTube. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
  36. ^ Kilday, Gregg (May 2, 1997). "To live and fry in L.A.". Entertainment Weekly. No. 377. p. 41.

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Title in the online table of contents is "TMZ redefines celebrity dirt".

External links[edit]