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
  • journalist
Known forFounder of TMZ
PartnerAndy Mauer

Harvey Robert Levin[1] (born September 2, 1950) [2] is an American television producer, legal analyst, journalist, and former lawyer.[3] He founded the celebrity news website TMZ in 2005, and later briefly served as the host of OBJECTified (2016–present), which aired on the Fox News Channel.

Early life and education

Levin was born September 2, 1950, in Los Angeles County, California to a Jewish family.[4][5][6] He attended high school at Grover Cleveland High School in Reseda, Los Angeles and graduated in 1968 with honors.[7][8] Levin attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he graduated with a B.A. in political science in 1972.[9] He later attended the University of Chicago Law School and graduated with a J.D. in 1975.[10]


Early law career and academia

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.[10][11] He then practiced law briefly in Los Angeles before taking a position at Whittier College School of Law.[11][6][12]

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.[12][11][6] His columnist career with the Times spanned seven years.[12]

Transition to entertainment

Main article: TMZ

Levin covered legal issues for KNBC-TV in 1982.[12] He subsequently joined KCBS-TV and spent a decade doing investigative reporting and legal analysis,[12][11][6] most notably covering the O. J. Simpson murder case.[12][11][6] 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.[11][13][12] He created Celebrity Justice, which ran from 2002 to 2005.[11][6]

Levin produced Beyond Twisted, which aired in 2009 for one season before being cancelled.[14] He created Famous in 12 (2014), an experiment in exploiting a family for quick fame,[15] but the show was cancelled after less than one season, with only five of the scheduled twelve episodes having aired.[16]

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[17]

In 2005, AOL and Telepictures Productions launched TMZ with Levin as the founder and managing editor.[12][18][19] The website quickly rose to prominence when it broke the story of Mel Gibson's DUI arrest and subsequent antisemitic rant.[12][11][6][18] 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.[6] The Los Angeles Times named TMZ's coverage of the Jackson death as the biggest story the website had covered to date.[20]

Harvey Levin Productions has produced Levin's media projects since he joined The People's Court in 1983 as the show's legal consultant.[11] 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.[21] The Library Journal "recommended [the book] for public libraries."[21]

Personal life

Levin in 2010

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.[22] He discussed his fear of losing his career if someone were to find out, which led to Levin compartmentalizing his personal and professional lives.[22][23]

Levin's longtime partner is Andy Mauer, a chiropractor in southern California.[24][25][26] The two own multiple properties together, sharing joint-deed listings since the late 1990s and early 2000s.[24][25] 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.[27] He has since been named #25 in 2013, #34 in 2014, #48 in 2015, and #40 in 2016.[28][29][30][31]

Levin supported Donald Trump in the run-up to the 2016 United States presidential election.[32] Following the election, he met with Trump in the Oval Office on March 7, 2017, and chatted for an hour.[33] However, all that changed by August 2018,[34] 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.[35][36]



Awards and honors

For his broadcast work, Levin has been nominated for nine Emmys.[18]


  1. ^ a b "State Bar of CA, Harvey Robert Levin". members.calbar.ca.gov. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  2. ^ Lobrutto, Vincent (4 January 2018). TV in the USA [3 volumes]: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas [3 volumes]. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. ISBN 978-1-4408-2973-4.
  3. ^ Beale, Lauren (February 24, 2015). "Exclusive details: Harvey Levin of TMZ hunts for a renter". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  4. ^ "Harvey Levin." Biography in Context. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Gale Biography In Context. Web. April 17, 2011.
  5. ^ "Harvey Levin." Newsmakers. Vol. 4. Detroit: Gale, 2011. Gale Biography In Context. Web. April 17, 2011.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "FAMOUS AND INFAMOUS CAVALIERS". www.clevelandhs.org. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  8. ^ Burch, Tina (February 20, 2009). "Cleveland High School 50th". dailynews.mycapture.com. Retrieved August 25, 2015.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Wu, Gwendolyn (April 29, 2015). "UCSB Alum Harvey Levin Speaks on Changes in Media". The Bottom Line. Santa Barbara, California. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Safranek, Lynn (October 18, 2010). "Harvey Levin, '75, of TMZ Tells Students Why His JD Matters".
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "Levin to preside in 'Court'". Electronic Media. 16 (13): 22. March 24, 1997.
  14. ^ "TMZ's Beyond Twisted Replaced By New Reality Show". www.anorak.co.uk. July 22, 2009. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  15. ^ Ryan, Patrick (June 2, 2014). "'Famous in 12' pushes the insta-celeb envelope". USA Today. Tysons Corner, Virginia. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  16. ^ "'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.
  17. ^ a b Lafayette, Jon (December 12, 2005). "TMZ Targets TV Newsmagazines". Television Week. 24 (50): 6–26.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ Shields, Mike (December 8, 2005). "AOL Launches TMZ.com". www.mediaweek.com. Archived from the original on February 19, 2006. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  20. ^ Collins, Scott; James, Meg (June 28, 2009). "Michael Jackson may be turning point for TMZ". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  21. ^ a b Twitchell, Anne (February 1, 1985). "The People's Court". Library Journal. 110 (2): 109.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ gosset-bernheim, hadrien. "Hollywood veut sa peau" (PDF). Hollywood Veut Sa Peau (in French): 110–115. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  24. ^ a b David, Mark (March 2, 2013). "TMZ Boss Harvey Levin Lists Sunset Strip Digs". Variety. Los Angeles. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ Denton, Nick (February 9, 2008). "Harvey Levin's Muscular Masseur". gawker.com. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  27. ^ "The Power List: HARVEY LEVIN". Out. April 17, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  28. ^ "Power List 2013: HARVEY LEVIN". Out. April 10, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  29. ^ "Power List 2014: HARVEY LEVIN". Out. April 15, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  30. ^ "Power 50: Harvey Levin". Out. April 15, 2015. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  31. ^ "The 10th Annual Power List". 14 April 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ Grynbaum, Michael M. (8 March 2017). "Trump Grants Oval Office Meeting to TMZ Founder". The New York Times.
  34. ^ Serota, Maggie. "Report: Trump And TMZ's Harvey Levin Aren't Friends Anymore". Retrieved 25 March 2023.
  35. ^ "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.
  36. ^ Michaelson, Elex. "TMZ's Harvey Levin Says Donald Trump "Committed Treason" & Should be Prosecuted". YouTube. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
  37. ^ Kilday, Gregg (May 2, 1997). "To live and fry in L.A.". Entertainment Weekly. No. 377. p. 41.

Further reading


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