Gerald M. Levin

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Gerald Levin
Gerald Levin

(1939-05-06) May 6, 1939 (age 79)
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Carol Needelman
Barbara Riley (divorced)
Laurie Ann Perlman Rapke
Children five

Gerald M. "Jerry" Levin (born May 6, 1939) is an American mass-media businessman. Levin is known for his involvement in brokering the merger between AOL and Time Warner in 2000, at the height of the dot-com bubble, a merger which seemed to many to be disadvantageous to Time Warner as the bubble collapsed in the next few years.[1]

Early life and education

Levin was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania[2] to a Jewish family of Russian and Romanian origins.[3][4][5] His father was a butter-and-egg businessman and his mother was a piano teacher.[2] He lived as a child in Overbrook Hills, a suburb of Philadelphia. He attended Haverford College, where he is a member of the Board of Directors. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1963.

Career and later life

In 2000, he claimed that “media will become the dominant industry in the 21st century, and the global media will become even stronger than the government.” Levin spent most of his career with Time Inc. (later Time Warner, then AOL Time Warner), starting as a programming executive for Home Box Office (HBO) and eventually becoming CEO of the corporation. Levin is probably most famous for having brokered the merger between AOL and Time Warner in 2000, at the height of the dot-com bubble, a merger which seemed to many to be disadvantageous to Time Warner as the bubble collapsed in the next few years. CNBC named him as one of the "Worst American CEOs of All Time".[6]

However, an article that appeared in the magazine, New York calls him, "perhaps the most powerful media executive in the world."[7] Levin was involved in pioneering HBO[citation needed] among other accomplishments. In 2013, Levin was named chairman of Elation Media, Inc., a live and on demand programming start-up launching in 2015, focusing on the worldwide holistic consumer market.[citation needed]

Philanthropic activities

In addition to being a businessman, Levin is a philanthropist; he is a supporter of Jewish causes and engages in other charitable and philanthropic work as well. He is a trustee and supporter of the Museum of Jewish Heritage,[8] among other charitable organizations.

Personal life

Levin has been married three times and fathered five children.[9] His first wife was Carol Needelman; they later divorced.[2] In 1970, he married his second wife, Barbara J. Riley;[2] they divorced in 2003.[10] His third wife was Laurie Ann Perlman Rapke, former wife of Jack Rapke.[11][12][13]

Murder of Jonathan Levin

One of his children, Jonathan Levin, a 31-year-old high school English teacher at Taft High School in the Bronx, was tortured and murdered on May 31, 1997 by one of his own students.[14][15] The student, Corey Arthur, was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in November 1998. A purported accomplice, Montoun Hart, was acquitted on the same charges in February 1999. While Hart had written a confession, jurors were not able to find out how it was obtained and felt it was unreliable.[16]

The murder occurred after Jonathan had mentioned in the classroom that his father was Time-Warner head Gerald M. Levin. The former student, Corey Arthur, assumed that Jonathan was wealthy. Arthur stole Jonathan's bank card and got the account's PIN, obtaining about $800 from the account.[17]

Jonathan Levin High School for Media and Communications in The Bronx, New York City, is named after the murdered teacher.

Further reading

  • Klein, Alec, Stealing Time: Steve Case, Jerry Levin, and the Collapse of AOL Time Warner (Simon & Schuster, 2003) ISBN 0-7432-5984-X


  1. ^ Munk, Nina (2004). Fools Rush In: Steve Case, Jerry Levin, and the Unmaking of AOL Time Warner. HarperBusiness. ISBN 0060540346.
  2. ^ a b c d Reference for Business: "Gerald Levin - Retired chairman and chief executive officer, AOL Time Warner" retrieved March 29, 2015
  3. ^ To the End of Time: The Seduction and Conquest of a Media Empire. Simon & Schuster. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
  4. ^ David Plotz (January 14, 2000). "Time Warner's Gerald Levin". Slate.
  5. ^ Cleveland Jewish News: "The 30-plus most influential Jews in America" December 27, 2001
  6. ^
  7. ^ Stevenson, Seth. "The Believer". The New York Mag. Retrieved July 9, 2009.
  8. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths LEVIN, JONATHAN". The New York Times. June 4, 1997. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  9. ^ "Gerald Levin". Heights - Jewish Business Ethics. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  10. ^ New York Times: "Private Sector; Which Kind of Merger Is Harder: The Corporate or the Marital?" by Geraldine Fabrikant January 12, 2003
  11. ^ Variety: "Levin heads for divorce" by Jill Goldsmith January 12, 2003
  12. ^ Levin, By Laurie Ann (October 1, 2009). God, the Universe, and Where I Fit In. HCI. p. 245. ISBN 9780757314407.
  13. ^ The Observer: "Hot Flash! Trophy Wife Models Are Passé: Rudy to Jack Welch, Remarrying Geezers Get Middle-Aged Babes With Power Dowries" by By Alexandra Wolfe and Anna Jane Grossman June 2, 2003
  14. ^ David Rohde (December 11, 1998). "Jurors Convict Youth in Killing Of His Teacher". The New York Times. Retrieved April 25, 2011.
  15. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths LEVIN, JONATHAN". The New York Times. June 4, 1997. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  16. ^ Laura Italiano (February 12, 1999). "LEVIN-SLAY SUSPECT'S BOOZE & POT SPREE SETS HIM FREE". New York Post.
  17. ^ "Jonathan Levin is tortured and killed by his former student". History Channel. May 30, 1997.

External links

  • Gerald Levin's page at The Museum of Broadcast Communications' website
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
  • Forbes Magazine article about Levin's resignation from AOL Time Warner
  • October 20, 1998 news article discussing opening statements at the trial of Jonathan Levin's then suspected murderer
  • Moonview Sanctuary: Gerald Levin's holistic treatment center based in Santa Monica, California
Business positions
Preceded by
Steve Ross
Time Warner CEO
Succeeded by
Richard Parsons
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