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Ira Levin: Fiendishly Clever

Published: 11/12/2012

Originally published November 2007 on

The words “Rosemary Baby” and “Stepford Wives” conjure images of the devil’s spawn and robotic wives from Connecticut. As easily as these ideas have entered the popular imagination, they were the life-work of an off-beat literary talent, Ira Levin. Over four decades, Levin produced seven novels and a handful of plays. Nearly each one was made into a Hollywood movie that brought his fiendishly clever visions of secret worlds simmering beneath quotidian life to popular attention. Ira Levin died on November 12, 2007 at the age of 78.




Though Levin was never recognized as a great literary master, he was universally lauded for his ability to intertwine nefarious plots and devilish schemes into the tussle of daily life, hinting at social critique and writing thrilling narrative sequences. He was a paranoid surrealist.

His other novels include his first, A Kiss Before Dying (1953), The Perfect Day (1970), Sliver (1991), Son of Rosemary (1997), and The Boys from Brazil (1976), which was made into a film starring Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier.





Additionally, Levin wrote a number of plays, including “Deathtrap”, which was, predictably, made into a film.

The Mystery Writers of America named Levin a grand master in 2003.





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