Sam Levinson

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Sam Levinson
Sam Levinson speaking at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con
Levinson in 2018
Samuel Levinson

(1985-01-08) January 8, 1985 (age 37)
  • Actor
  • filmmaker
Years active1992–present
Spouse(s)Ashley Lent
RelativesBarry Levinson (father)

Samuel Levinson (born January 8, 1985) is an American actor and filmmaker.[1] He is the son of Academy Award-winning director Barry Levinson. In 2010, he received his first writing credit as a co-writer for the action comedy film Operation: Endgame. The following year, he made his directorial film debut with Another Happy Day (2011), which premiered at Sundance Film Festival to negative reviews. He then received a writing credit on his father's HBO television film The Wizard of Lies (2017). He continued writing and directing for the feature films Assassination Nation (2018) and Malcolm & Marie (2021), both of which received mixed reviews.

In 2019, Levinson created the HBO teen drama series Euphoria (2019–present), which was adapted from the Israeli series of the same name. The controversial series has become popular with audiences, while gaining substantial criticism for its explicit content involving teens. Levinson was nominated for a BAFTA TV Award for the series.

Early life

Levinson was born on January 8, 1985, and is the son of Diana Rhodes, a production designer for TV commercials, and filmmaker Barry Levinson.[2][3] His father is from a Russian-Jewish family.[4] Levinson studied method acting for four years.[5] He has a brother, Jack Levinson, who is also an actor,[6] and two half-siblings, Michelle and Patrick, from his mother's first marriage.


Levinson made his film debut as an actor in the 1992 fantasy comedy Toys, alongside his brother Jack. He later appeared in the comedy-drama film Bandits (2001) and the satirical comedy film What Just Happened (2008). In 2009, he co-starred as Peter Thompson in the arthouse drama film Stoic. In 2011, Levinson won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival[7] for his directorial debut film, Another Happy Day, which starred Ellen Barkin.[2][8]

Levinson co-wrote the 2017 television film The Wizard of Lies, which was directed by his father Barry Levinson. The film focuses on Bernie Madoff, who is played by Robert De Niro.[9] Levinson wrote and directed the film Assassination Nation[10] which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival to mixed reviews from critics, who praised its "frenetic and visually stylish" action but criticized the thinly-written characters.[11][12] In June 2019, Levinson created the HBO television drama series Euphoria, based on the Israeli series of the same name (Hebrew: אופוריה‎).[13][14] The series received critical acclaim for its direction, writing, and acting. It was notable for its raw and graphic portrayal of teenagers wrestling with drug addiction and sexuality.[5]

In 2020, Levinson wrote and directed the film Malcolm & Marie, reuniting him with Euphoria star Zendaya. The film was distributed by Netflix in February 2021.[15] He also executive produced the drama film Pieces of a Woman.[16] Levinson co-wrote the screenplay for the psychological erotic thriller Deep Water (2022), based on the 1957 novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith.[17][18] On June 29, 2021, Levinson announced that he will be co-creating, writing and executive producing another HBO television drama series The Idol, alongside recording artist Abel 'The Weeknd' Tesfaye and his producing partner Reza Fahim.[19]

Personal life

From 2008 to 2011, Levinson dated actress Ellen Barkin.[20][21] Levinson is married to Ashley Lent Levinson. The couple has a son.[5]

Levinson has discussed his struggles with drugs as a teenager and young adult.[22]



Year Title
Director Writer Producer
2010 Operation: Endgame No Yes No
2011 Another Happy Day Yes Yes No
2018 Assassination Nation Yes Yes No
2021 Malcolm & Marie Yes Yes Yes
2022 Deep Water No Yes No

Executive producer

Acting roles

Year Title Role
1992 Toys War Room Player
2001 Bandits Billy Saunders
2008 What Just Happened Carl
2009 Stoic Peter Thompson


Year Title
Director Writer Executive
Creator Notes
2017 The Wizard of Lies No Yes No No TV movie
2019–present Euphoria Yes Yes Yes Yes 16 episodes
2022 Irma Vep No No Yes No Miniseries
2022 The Idol Yes Yes Yes Yes 6 episodes


Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2011 Sundance Film Festival Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award Another Happy Day Won [23]
Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic Nominated
2018 Writers Guild of America Awards Television: Long Form – Adapted The Wizard of Lies Nominated
Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Award: Midnight Madness Assassination Nation Nominated
2020 British Academy Television Awards Best International Programme Euphoria Nominated
2022 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics Pending
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Drama Series Pending


  1. ^ Brennan, Matt (June 30, 2019). "'Euphoria' creator Sam Levinson isn't interested in following the rules". Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^ a b Sragow, Michael (January 31, 2011). "Like father, like son: Sam Levinson wins at Sundance". The Baltimore Sun.
  3. ^ Levinson, Barry (1990). Avalon ; Tin Men ; Diner: Three Screenplays. Atlantic Monthly Press. ISBN 978-0-87113-435-6.
  4. ^ "Barry Levinson: Baltimore, My Baltimore". Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Sandberg, Bryn Elise (June 16, 2019). "'Euphoria' Creator on Boundary-Pushing HBO Drama: "We Didn't Want to Pull Any Punches"". The Hollywood Reporter.
  6. ^ "Jack Levinson". IMDb. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  7. ^ "Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers: "Another Happy Day" Director Sam Levinson". IndieWire. January 14, 2011.
  8. ^ Holden, Stephen (November 17, 2011). "Sam Levinson's 'Another Happy Day' - Review". The New York Times.
  9. ^ Fienberg, Daniel (May 9, 2017). "'The Wizard of Lies': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter.
  10. ^ Crump, Andy (September 22, 2018). "How 'Assassination Nation' Exploits Privacy Fears". The Hollywood Reporter.
  11. ^ Giles, Jeff (September 20, 2018). "The House with a Clock in Its Walls Ticks Along Tolerably". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  12. ^ Felperin, Leslie (February 9, 2018). "Sundance 2018; 'Assassination Nation': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter.
  13. ^ Roxborough, Scott (March 13, 2018). "HBO Puts in Pilot Order for 'Euphoria,' Based on Israeli Format". The Hollywood Reporter.
  14. ^ Goodman, Tim (June 5, 2019). "'Euphoria': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter.
  15. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (September 13, 2020). "Netflix Closes $30 Million Deal For 'Malcolm & Marie' Off Promo; Sam Levinson Lockdown-Shot Drama Stars Zendaya & John David Washington: Toronto". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  16. ^ Galuppo, Mia (October 22, 2019). "Shia LaBeouf to Star in Drama 'Pieces of a Woman' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  17. ^ Fleming, Mike, Jr. (August 1, 2019). "New Regency Bringing Adrian Lyne Back To Directing With 'Deep Water;' Ben Affleck, Ana de Armas In Talks For Patricia Highsmith Adaptation". Deadline Hollywood. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation.
  18. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (September 23, 2020). "'Black Widow' Jumps To Summer 2021 Spurring Marvel Pics Release Date Shift; 'West Side Story' Delayed A Year; 'Soul' Stays Theatrical". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  19. ^ White, Peter (June 29, 2021). "The Weeknd To Star In & Write Pop Singer Cult Drama Series 'The Idol' With Sam Levinson In The Works At HBO". Deadline. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  20. ^ Dyball, Rennie (June 2, 2011). "Ellen Barkin Is Dating Sam Levinson". People.
  21. ^ "Ellen makes it a family affair". Page Six. November 16, 2011. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  22. ^ Chuba, Kirsten (June 5, 2019). "'Euphoria' Creator on Authentic Trans Portrayals, Mining "Deeply Personal" History to Tackle Teen Drug Abuse". The Hollywood Reporter.
  23. ^ "Sam Levinson – Awards – IMDb". IMDb. Retrieved June 15, 2020.

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