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Richard Leighton Levinson Edit Profile

screenwriter , writer , film producer

Richard Leighton Levinson, American writer, producer. Recipient Image award National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 1970; recipient Golden Globe award, 1972, Edgar Allan Poe award Mystery Writers American, 1979, 80, 83 (total of 4).


Levinson, Richard Leighton was born on August 7, 1934 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Son of William and Georgia Francis (Harbert) Levinson.


Bachelor of Science in Economics, University of Pennsylvania, 1956.


Levinson had a Jewish heritage. Both were avid Ellery Queen fans from boyhood and enjoyed mental puzzles and challenges, a characteristic that would spill over into their work. Beginning with radio scripts, the team wrote plays and then prime-time TV scripts.

They went on to co-create and sometimes produce the detective television series Columbo, Mannix, Ellery Queen, Murder, She Wrote (with Peter S Fischer) and Scene of the Crime, as well as made-for-TV movies The Gun, My Sweet Charlie, That Certain Summer, The Judge and Jake Wyler, The Execution of Private Slovik, Charlie Cobb: A Nice Night for a Hanging, Rehearsal for Murder, and the short-lived TV series Blacke's Magic. The team were proud of creating "intelligent" rather than violent programs. The team occasionally used the pseudonym Ted Leighton, most notably on the telefilm Ellery Queen: Don't Look Behind You, where their work was substantially re-written by other hands, and Columbo when they came up with stories to be scripted by their collaborators.

During the 1980s, they were three-time winners of the Edgar for Best TV Feature or MiniSeries Teleplay, and in 1989 they were given the MWA's Ellery Queen Award, which honors outstanding mystery-writing teams. In November 1995 they were jointly elected to the Television Academy Hall of Fame. Levinson died of a heart attack in Los Angeles on March 12, 1987 at the age of 52.

The first Murder, She Wrote spin-off novel, Gin And Daggers, is dedicated to his memory. In tribute to Levinson, Link wrote the script for the 1991 TV film The Boys, starring James Woods and John Lithgow.


  • In 1979, Levinson and Link received a Special Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for their work on Ellery Queen and Columbo.



Served with United States Army, 1957-1958. Member Academy television Arts and Sciences (Emmy award 1970, 72), Caucus for Writers, Producers and Directors (steering committee 1976-1977), Writers Guild American (award 1972).


Son of William and Georgia Francis (Harbert) L. M. Rosanna Huffman, April 20, 1968. 1 daughter, Christine Leighton.

William Levinson

Georgia Francis (Harbert) Levinson

Rosanna Huffman