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Hy Levine Obituary – Death: Print And Outdoor Advertising Executive Behind Studio Film Blockbusters Passed Away At 87, Cause Of Death

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Hy Levine Obituary – Death: Print And Outdoor Advertising Executive Behind Studio Film Blockbusters Passed Away At 87, Cause Of Death

Herman (Hy) Levine, a veteran figure with an illustrious nearly 50-year career in the film industry, has passed away at the age of 87. He left a lasting impact working alongside influential executives such as Lew Wasserman, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Dick Cook, and others.

Levine succumbed to pancreatic cancer on December 27 in Rockville, MD. His son, Stuart Levine, Vice President of Editorial and Media Relations at NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, confirmed the news.

During his tenure at Disney from 1986 to 1998, Levine served as the VP of co-op advertising. He played a crucial role during a period when the studio was ramping up its film production. In this capacity, he oversaw the print and outdoor advertising for all Disney features, including those under the Touchstone and Hollywood Pictures banners.

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Levine’s contributions were integral to the success of numerous films, such as The Lion King, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, and Beaches.

Given a set budget for each film, Levine strategically determined the size and scope of ad campaigns, spanning major publications like the Los Angeles Times and New York Times, along with hundreds of local papers and national magazines. In an era when newspapers played a pivotal role in film awareness, the effectiveness of ad campaigns significantly influenced a film’s reception during its opening weekend.

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Hired by former marketing chief Bob Levin, Levine developed close working relationships with top executives Dick Cook and Jeffrey Katzenberg during his time at Disney.

Before Disney, Levine spent two decades at Universal, starting in 1967 in the road show division. He contributed to the advertising strategies for Universal classics like The Sting, Airport, Earthquake, The Wiz, and the 1975 blockbuster Jaws.

In 1979, he was invited by Universal chieftain Lew Wasserman to relocate to California and work on the Universal lot. Levine also had stints at MGM and began his career at United Artists and Joseph E. Levine’s Embassy Pictures.

Levine, who grew up in Brooklyn as a devoted Dodgers fan, found joy in various activities, including freelancing as a basketball referee, serving as the president of his local B’nai B’rith chapter, enjoying cruising, and finding solace in his Judaism.

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Survived by his wife of 61 years, Ethel (E.J.); sons Stuart and Mark; grandchildren Zoe, Max, and Maggie; daughters-in-law Priscilla and Amy; and two older sisters, Florence and Gladys, Levine’s legacy will be remembered fondly by those who knew and worked with him.

For those wishing to make a donation in his memory, contributions can be directed to the Montgomery County (Maryland) hospice at Montgomery Hospice and Prince George’s Hospice – Montgomery Hospice and Prince George’s Hospice.

 

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