Irv Levin

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Irv Levin
Irving H. Levin

September 8, 1921
DiedMarch 20, 1996(1996-03-20) (aged 74)
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. AB-PT sold Levin and Harry L. Mandell AB-PT Pictures and AB-PT Distribution Corporation in May 1958[4][5] and reformed the company as Atlas Pictures Corporation.[4][6] Levin and Mandell then brought on Maurice Duke and Henry F. Ehrlich to form a TV production company, Sindee Productions Inc. with its first series Pancho Villa through distributor MCA.[4]

In 1961, Levin joined National Theaters & Television, Inc. as a vice president.[7] 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.[8] 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.

Levin had long wanted to own a team in California, but knew that the NBA would not even consider letting him move the Celtics. In 1978, with this in mind, 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][11] On May 4, 1981, Levin sold the Clippers to Donald Sterling for $13.5 million.[12]

Films produced by Levin[edit]


  1. ^ "Irving H. Levin". IMDb.
  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. ^ a b c "New film producers" (PDF). Broadcasting. May 11, 1959. p. 77. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  5. ^ "Highlights of Corporate 1958". The Film Daily Year Book of Motion Pictures. Film daily. 1959. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  6. ^ Heffernan, Kevin (2004). Ghouls, Gimmicks, and Gold: Horror Films and the American Movie Business, 1953–1968. Duke University Press. p. 71. ISBN 0822385554. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  7. ^ "Business & People". Los Angeles Times. Nov 27, 1961.
  8. ^ a b "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. ^ Gleason, Bucky (April 22, 2016). "How the Braves came to Buffalo -- and why they left". The Buffalo News. Archived from the original on April 22, 2016. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  11. ^ Mark D. Director (July 14, 1978). "The Boston-San Diego-Buffalo Shuffle". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  12. ^ DAVE DISTEL (Sep 22, 1982). "NBA Moves to Oust Sterling". Los Angeles Times.
Preceded by Boston Celtics principal owner
April 1972-May 1972
Succeeded by
Preceded by Boston Celtics principal owner
Succeeded by
Preceded by Buffalo Braves/San Diego Clippers principal owner
Succeeded by