15 July 2019

Man of Many Names and Faces

by Fran Rizer

A person who is two-faced and has used an alias many times sounds sketchy. Why would I want to interview him and introduce him to SleuthSayer readers?

Let's call this fellow "Lenny." Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, he left home at eighteen, spent some time in Miami, and then joined the U.S. Army. After completing his service, Lenny attended Michigan State University and earned a degree in Social Science. He wound up in a place he still loves--New York City.

Nineteen-year-old Lenny in Miami.

In 1970, Lenny began working as a press agent for Solters and Sabinson, a show biz publicity agency near Times Square. Solters and Sabinson's clients included big-time names such as Frank Sinatra and The Beatles. At age thirty-five, Lenny made a giant leap by quitting his PR job and becoming a full-time writer without a "day job." During the following years, Lenny had eighty-three (you read that right--eighty-three!) novels released by major publishers--all under pen names.

Photo by Ray Block in his photography
studio. The hat, gun, and unlit cigarette are
all props, creating an image indicative of
what Lenny was writing at the time.
Some of Lenny's books include:  The Apache War Series, six as Frank Burleson; The Pecos Kid Series, six as Frank Bodine; The Rat Bastards Series, sixteen as John Mackie; The Sergeant Series, nine as Gordon Davis, as well as other series and standalones -- all published under pen names.

Now in his eighties, the man of many names and faces refers to himself as "the crazy old dude."  In the past twelve months, this dude's published novels have increased to eighty-six, and many previous works are now available as e-books.

Throughout his career, Lenny was acclaimed under twenty-two pseudonyms as an excellent writer who takes his readers through adventures with such characters as cops, cowboys and soldiers. What's different about these three new books?

They're released under Lenny's real name.



The three new books released recently are: Cobra Woman, Web of Doom, and Grip of Death.  I reviewed Cobra Woman and Web of Doom on Amazon.  When I told Levinson I planned to read the re-release of The Last Buffoon next, he said that I might not like it because it's "raunchy, really raunchy." I replied that a review I'd found said, "The Last Buffoon" is the funniest thing I've ever read." Guess what Len Levinson book I'm now reading.

Levinson says, "That's me during my
younger days, standing in a trash barrel in
Washington Square Park, Greenwich Village, New York City."
Photo by S. H. Linden, around 1971.


Photo of Len Levinson standing beside a portrait of himself
 by Ari Roussimoff. Yes, Roussimoff  painted Levinson with
two sets of eyes. Levinson and Roussimoff were neighbors
in the Hell's Kitchen section of New York. To see more of
Roussimoff's work, check him out at roussimoff.com.

Researching Len Levinson, I learned a lot about him even before I began asking him questions.Some of the things he loves are evident.  In addition to people (he has grandchildren), it's obvious that Len Levinson loves New York City, art museums, beautiful women, and music. He's a familiar figure at blues festivals in the Chicago area--probably the only bopping dude in his eighties.


Levinson's FaceBook pages feature pictures of
him "bopping" at numerous festivals.

A real Man of Many Names and Faces -- the real face of my friend
 Lenny, AKA Len Levinson in 2019.

Until we meet again, please take care of … YOU!

13 comments:

  1. Terrific profile of Len, Fran. Thanks for sharing all that info.

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  2. A great introduction to what sounds like a fun writer- and an awesomely hard working one!

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  3. Len and I have been acquaintances on Facebook for a while. It's nice to get to know him better this way. He is quite accomplished. Thanks, Fran.

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  4. Thanks for your comments, Paul, Janice, and Barb. Writing this took me back to my pre-fiction days of writing magazine interviews, and I loved every minute of it. I actually wound up with enough info to do several articles. I'll let you folks know what I think when I finish reading THE LAST BUFFOON.

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  5. Sounds like a very interesting man! And the work sounds like it'll be fun, too.

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  6. Eve, the more I learn about Len and the more of his work I read, the more greatly I'm impressed.

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  7. What a character! And what an amazing output. Next time I have writer’s block, I’ll think of Len Levinson and get back to work.

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  8. I feel the same way Lawrence. Researching for this blog gave me inspiration that I'll call on next time I need it.

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  9. That's like one of those 'most famous person you never heard of'. And he dances better than I do!

    He must have posed in Washington Square about the time I was there. I'll tell you a Washington Square story one of these days, Fran.

    Interesting article, lady. Now nice to see you!

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  10. Always love to hear your stories, Leigh. I'll look forward to a Washington Square story one day and tell you a few about New York. Oh, that's right, I met you on one of those New York trips.

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  11. Thanks to everyone, especially to Len Levinson who let me delve into his life and literary works.

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  12. I have just discovered the blog and have read with interest. Fran Rizer has made me want to be Len Levinson when, and if, I ever grow up!

    Well done!

    Gene Holdway
    Greer, SC

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  13. Fascinating character, Fran but he's real. Been a busy week for me and I just got a chance to read your post. Tonight. So glad to see your article and what a awesome gentleman.

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