Irv Levin

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Irving H. Levin
BornSeptember 8, 1921
DiedMarch 20, 1996
Occupationfilm producer
Children1 son, 2 daughters

Irving H. Levin (September 8, 1921 – March 20, 1996[1]) was an American film producer and business executive with the National General Corporation. He was also the owner of the National Basketball Association's Boston Celtics and San Diego Clippers.

Levin began his film career as the president of Filmmakers Releasing Organization, a film distribution company founded by independent producers Collier Young and Ida Lupino.[2][3] When American Broadcasting-Paramount Theatres, Inc. decided to expand to film production in 1956, Levin was named the first president of the Am-Par Picture Corporation.[4] The company dissolved in 1959 and he moved to Atlantic Pictures Corp.[5]

In 1961, Levin joined National Theaters & Television, Inc. as a vice president.[6] In 1962 Eugene V. Klein restructured the company into National General Corp., where Levin served as the executive vice president from 1962–1969 and president and CEO from 1969–1972. Levin was also president of NGC's entertainment assets, which included National General Pictures and The Chinese Theatre.

In April 1972, Levin and attorney Harold A. Lipton purchased the Boston Celtics for $3.7 Million. The sale was rejected by the NBA as a result of conflict of interest concerns due to fellow National General directors Sam Schulman and Eugene V. Klein owning the Seattle SuperSonics.[7] Levin and Lipton were forced to sell their shares to Robert Schmertz that May for $3.95 Million with an option for the two to repurchase half of the Celtics' stock.[8] After two years of litigation, Levin and Lipton were able exercise their option.[9] Ten months later they purchased the remaining stock from Leisure Technology.

In 1978, Levin and Lipton swapped their shares in the Celtics with John Y. Brown, Jr. and Harry T. Mangurian, Jr. for their shares in the Buffalo Braves. The Braves were relocated to San Diego, where they became the San Diego Clippers.[10] On May 4, 1981, Levin sold the Clippers to Donald Sterling for $13.5 million.[11]

Films produced by Levin[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "STUDIO WILL FILM TWO VIDEO SERIES; 'Medic' and 'Racket Squad'". Los Angeles Times. Nov 4, 1955.
  3. ^ THOMAS M. PRYOR (March 26, 1953). "IDA LUPINO ENTERS DISTRIBUTION FIELD; She and Collier Young Set Up Filmakers Releasing Unit With Outlets in 29 Cities". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "Company Formed to Produce Films". Los Angeles Times. Nov 16, 1956.
  5. ^ "BUSINESS AND PEOPLE". Los Angeles Times. Aug 28, 1959.
  6. ^ "Business & People". Los Angeles Times. Nov 27, 1961.
  7. ^ "Celtics' owner dispute is more confused than ever". The Tuscaloosa News. July 22, 1974. Retrieved 2010-03-14.
  8. ^ "Celtics' owner dispute is more confused than ever". The Tuscaloosa News. July 22, 1974. Retrieved 2010-03-14.
  9. ^ "New Owner But Red Is Still Boss of Celts". Lewiston Evening Journal. Jan 14, 1975. Retrieved 2010-03-14.
  10. ^ Mark D. Director (July 14, 1978). "The Boston-San Diego-Buffalo Shuffle". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  11. ^ DAVE DISTEL (Sep 22, 1982). "NBA Moves to Oust Sterling". Los Angeles Times.
Preceded by
Ballantine Brewery
Boston Celtics principal owner
April 1972-May 1972
Succeeded by
Robert Schmertz
Preceded by
Robert Schmertz
Boston Celtics principal owner
Succeeded by
John Y. Brown, Jr.
Preceded by
John Y. Brown, Jr.
Buffalo Braves/San Diego Clippers principal owner
Succeeded by
Donald Sterling