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Michael Levine

Michael Levine

A celebration of the life of Michael Levine will be held Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, at 5 p.m. at the Canyon Theatre Guild, 24242 Main Street, Newhall.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a donation be made in Mike’s name to either the CTG or the Repertory East Playhouse.

 

 

[KHTS] – The Santa Clarita theater community suffered a great loss when Mike Levine, 67, collapsed in his home and was rushed to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in the early afternoon of Tuesday, Dec. 31.  Attempts by paramedics and hospital staff to revive him were unsuccessful, and he succumbed to what is believed to be a fatal heart attack.

Levine was an award-winning stage actor and director, spending over two decades sharing his craft with Santa Clarita actors and audiences alike. Many know him from his performance as Tevye in the Santa Clarita Repertory Theater production of “Fiddler On The Roof,” but his resume is overloaded with spectacular characters and performances including “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “All My Sons,” “Proof,” and “On Golden Pond,” to name a few. He was last seen portraying the character of Mr. Potter in the Canyon Theatre Guild’s production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” which closed just before Christmas.

Directing credits include the award-winning “The Lion in Winter”, “Who’s Life Is It, Anyway?” and “Steel Magnolias” at the Canyon Theatre Guild. He also directed the critically acclaimed “A Few Good Men” at the Repertory East Playhouse. He was considered to be a mentor to many who worked with him, and would go out of his way to help even the youngest of participants.

Levine as Tevye in 1995 | Photo courtesy of George Cummings

Levine as Tevye in the 1995 CTG production of “Fiddler on the Roof” | Photo courtesy of George Cummings

Actor Tom Lund, 26, recalls his first encounter with Levine.

“In 1994, I auditioned for my first show at the Canyon Theatre Guild: Goldielocks and the Christmas Bears,” he recalled.  “I was an absolute nervous wreck, and believe it or not, 100% shy. They wanted to see if I could follow directions or do some easy movements by doing a somersault across the stage. I was so nervous I couldn’t move. He got up and crouched down next to me and told me it was OK. He wanted me to just get mad and grab the pencil from his hand. He then walked 10 feet away and had me get the pencil. I got in that show.”

Lori D’Itri also recalls his unique directorial style when he cast her in the 2002 production of “Steel Magnolias” at the Canyon Theatre Guild.

“Mr Levine worked with us each one by one and my turn came up,” she said. “He sat in one chair, and had me sit in a chair directly in front of him facing him. He told me he was an angel and wanted desperately to understand and empathize with me as to what happened when my (character’s) daughter died to help him understand my feelings at that moment. He looked at me as an unknowing angel with a transformed angel’s face and persona, like so innocent trying to understand. It was amazing. We both cried our guts out.”

Born in Brooklyn on Nov. 4, 1946, Levine caught the acting bug early on. His family moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s, where he continued his passion through live theater, summer stock, and the occasional movie role. He also worked as a radio disc jockey, and was the original Program Director and midday DJ when KBET first began broadcasting in 1989.

He is survived by his wife, Ruth, son, Adam, and brother Ron.

In his recent interview on KHTS’ “The Friday Matinee,” he summed up his acting passion in two sentences. “Acting is believing. I can make you laugh, I can make you cry, I can make you think.” Then he added, “Never give up your dreams.”

 

George D. Cummings is a morning DJ and co-host of “The Friday Matinee” on AM-1220 KHTS. Since 1994 he has been an actor, director and sound producer with the Canyon Theatre Guild.

 

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19 Comments

  1. A talented and giving man, who will be missed.

  2. That is awful!! Thoughts and prayers to his family

  3. Lee Morrell Lee Morrell says:

    Just saw him in It’s a Wonderful Life…so tragic…condolences to his friends and family.

  4. Peace brother. You were a joy to share the stage with.

  5. Joan Oxman Joan Oxman says:

    So very sad. My condolences to his family and friends!

  6. Naomi Young says:

    A wonderfully talented man who will be missed. May his memory be a blessing!

  7. Naomi Young says:

    A loss of a wonderfully talented man. May his memory be a blessing. Condolences to the family
    and the CCTG.

  8. Praying for his family at this time.

  9. Reid Gormly Reid Gormly says:

    Rest in peace my friend. My heart goes out to you.

  10. Mike was a wonderful caring man. You will be missed.. R.I.P.

  11. It’s been a privilege to have played a small part in his life. I will miss him. Love and prayers to his family.

  12. My heart goes out to his family. Mike was an amazing actor and friend. He will be greatly missed by us all near and far.

  13. He was such a great person and had his own funny humor . And great presence on the stage that was so powerful .Such sad devastating news his talent and presence will be missed . Prayers go out to his wife and son.

  14. He was such a great person and had his own funny humor . And great presence on the stage that was so powerful .Such sad devastating news his talent and presence will be missed . Prayers go out to his wife and son.

  15. I worked with Mike professionally for several years. He touched my life in a way few others have, and stuck with me forever since. I deeply regret not making more effort to reconnect with him after our work lives moved on. He will be missed greatly.

  16. Darel Roberts says:

    A towering presence on stage, I always enjoyed our little chats backstage. I will miss him.

  17. Jody says:

    So sorry to hear this. As recent citizens of the SCV, we’d just seen our first show at CTG, “It’s A Wonderful Life” on closing night. Very glad we got to experience his giftings and talents, and obvious zest for his craft.

    May God bless and comfort his family and friends. Sad loss for SCV.

  18. Richard Cooper Bayne says:

    I worked opposite Mike as Finch to his Twimble in How To Succeed as college kids at valley State in 1967. Our singing voices blended beautifully and powerfully: a kind of volume contest. I haven’t seen him since but 47 years later I remember how we stopped the show with The Company Way. He was so kind and paternal to this 20 year old and could play age too. I had no idea we were the same age. Destined to be a great Dad in life and Tevye on stage.

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