Cleveland legend Les Levine passed away last night at the age of 74, his family announced.
Levine had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, which he disclosed publicly in 2018, and had battled diabetes for most of his adult life.
A ubiquitous fixture in local sports media for five decades, Levine called hockey (Cleveland Crusaders), college football and basketball (Kent State, Cleveland State), high school games, and wrote print columns (Cleveland Jewish News, News Herald, Columbus Jewish News), but was best known and most loved for his work on radio and TV.
"More Sports & Les Levine" began in 1991 on WERE 1300 AM before moving to WHK 1420 AM. The TV version launched in 1996 and ran for 25 years across the changes of cable ownership, eventually landing at cleveland.com in recent years.
His influence on his colleagues and those who would follow behind the mic can't be overstated. His mentorship, friendship and sense of humor were lauded as frequently as the innovative ways he pushed the profession forward, from inviting beat writers and columnists on air before it was commonplace to inviting TV viewers to call in live to his show to launching streaming shows before everyone had one.
Levine was as beloved as they come in Cleveland and the tributes and memories flooding social media today are just a small token of the lasting impact he had on the city and everyone around him.
"Les has worked for and with many outstanding people, including those who had enough faith in his talent to support his endeavors throughout an exceptional career," his family said in a statement. "He is especially thankful for everyone who gave him an opportunity to advance in the broadcasting business each step along the journey. Les could be defined in part by a tenacious work ethic and dedication to his craft. Yet he often said since he was fortunate to do something he loved he felt he never worked a day in his life."
Les Levine is survived by his wife Allison Levine, children Jeremy (Melissa) Levine, Jamie Levine (Elan) Daniel, step-children Mara (Victor) Bendersky and Adam Mesnick, Grandchildren Leia, Mallory, Noah, Vida and Mayla, brothers Stuart (Leslee) Levine and William (Nancy) Levine.
Ken Carman and Anthony Lima talked about the loss this morning to open their show on 92.3, the station where Les had filled in over the years and where his son Jeremy works.