Tag Archives: Monty Python

Alfred Levinson–the eighth Python?

Few, if any, devotees of the legendary TV show and films are likely to grant the American novelist, poet and playwright Alfred Levinson even honorary status, despite the fact that, as a friend of Michael Palin, he seems to have been a semi-permanent fixture at various Python events, notably a recording of The Life of Brian, where he played the Voice of God and was jokily appointed ‘religious advisor’ to the film.

Levinson was a huge Python fan when, in February 1975, he first met Palin at a dinner given by Michael Henshaw, the ‘cool accountant’ to Palin and also such literary stars as William Burroughs, David Hare, Alan Sillitoe, Fay Weldon and Simon Gray. They hit it off immediately—the creative writing tutor and the wannabe novelist—and almost immediately begun a long-distance correspondence, with Levinson alternating between his home in Sag Harbor and addresses in London. Palin saw him as ‘a sort of Earth Father figure in his fifties, solid, smiling, sensible, dependable’, and in his diary looked back at the correspondence with great pleasure:

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