Bernard Levin (1928-2004)
The influential journalist who was ‘inquisitive, to the point of impertinence, about almost everything’.
Bernard Levin, writer and broadcaster, has been described as ‘one of the most brilliant and controversial polemical journalists of his generation’.
He was brought up in Camden Town by his mother and her parents, who had come to Britain from Lithuania. Bernard’s grandparents spoke little English, so family conversations were held in Yiddish.
Bernard began his journalistic career while studying at the London School of Economics. He went on to write passionately about politics in The Spectator, alongside his role as a theatre critic for The Daily Express and then The Daily Mail.
In 1963 he joined the panel of the satirical BBC TV comedy programme, That Was the Week That Was, which made him a household name. He started writing a column for The Times in 1970 and spent the last 26 years of his career there, while also authoring a number of books and filming several travel series for TV.
Bernard lived his whole life in London, favouring elegant flats in Marylebone. He loved wining and dining, and the theatre. Opera was a lifelong passion, and he cut a distinctive figure at a performance, always wearing a white tie and ‘a swirling cloak lined with bright-coloured silk’.