A Look Through Eugene Levy’s Extensive Career

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Eva Rinaldi

Today, many know Eugene Levy for his work with his son Daniel Levy on the wildly popular sitcom Schitt’s Creek where he played Johnny Rose. What many may not know is that Eugene Levy starred in, directed, and wrote a plethora of projects before 2015 when Schitt’s Creek first aired on the Canadian network CBC in 2015.

Let’s take a deep dive into Eugene Levy’s career and his impressive credits!

Who is Eugene Levy?

Eugene Levy is a Canadian actor, director, writer, and producer. In the early ‘70s, he starred in the Toronto production of the musical Godspell alongside actors like Andrea Martin and Martin Short. He then began acting in mainstream media with his first TV role in King of Kensington and his first film role in Foxy Lady. 

In 2008, Eugene Levy received the Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award from Canada’s Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards. According to the organization’s website, this award “recognizes artists for their outstanding body of work and enduring contribution to the performing arts in Canada.”

Eugene Levy was appointed into the Order of Canada in 2011, which also recognizes outstanding achievement and dedication to the community. According to Palisades News, Los Angeles neighborhood Pacific Palisades named him its honorary mayor in September 2020.

Eugene Levy is married to screenwriter Deborah Divine. Their two children, Dan and Sarah Levy, are both actors and starred with their father in Schitt’s Creek. Dan Levy is also a writer, director, and producer. Even Eugene’s brother Fred Levy is a producer on the show!


 
 
 
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Eugene Levy Movies: Cannibal Girls (1973)

Eugene Levy’s first lead film role was in the 1973 Canadian independent comedy horror Cannibal Girls, directed by Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, No Strings Attached). The film is about a couple whose car problems leave them stranded in a small town where three women seduce men to eat them alive in order to stay young (think a ‘70s version of Jennifer’s Body).

Eugene Levy plays Clifford and Andrea Martin plays his girlfriend Gloria. The film also stars Ronald Ulrich, Randall Carpenter, Bonnie Neilson, and Mirs Pawluk. Cannibal Girls was screened at the 1973 Sitges Film Festival in Spain, where Eugene Levy won the award for Best Actor.

Fun fact: In Ghostbusters II (also directed by Ivan Reitman), you can catch Cannibal Girls on a marquee at a movie theater where the audience is being chased out by a ghost.

Although Cannibal Girls first premiered in June 1973, it was re-released at the 2010 South by Southwest Film Conference.

Cannibal Girls is available to watch on Tubi.

Eugene Levy TV Shows: SCTV (1976-1984)

Eugene Levy starred in and wrote for SCTV from 1976 to 1984. SCTV, also known as Second City Television, was a Canadian sketch comedy show that aired on various networks, both in Canada and in the US.

The show takes place in a fictional town called “Melonville” and follows the characters on the set of a broadcast television station. Actors would create parodies of soap operas, news broadcasts, sitcoms, and commercials, in which Eugene Levy starred as numerous characters.

SCTV also starred Catherine O’Hara, Andrea Martin, Joe Flaherty, and Martin Short. The show originated from The Second City comedy troupe in Toronto, which also has troupe in Chicago and Hollywood. SCTV received 15 Emmy nominations and won two for Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program—one in 1982 and the other in 1983.

Martin Scorsese directed a special that explores the impact of SCTV. It is set to be released on Netflix.

Eugene Levy Movies: Waiting for Guffman (1996)

Waiting for Guffman was the first film that Eugene Levy both starred in and wrote. The 1996 film was directed by Christopher Guest, who plays the lead in the film, and also stars Fred Willard, Catherine O’Hara, and Parker Posey.

Waiting for Guffman is a comedy mockumentary that follows a local theater group’s production of a musical about their Missouri town’s history for its 150th anniversary. Eugene Levy stars as Dr. Allan Pearl, a dentist that participates in the musical.

Eugene Levy and Christopher Guest wrote the story, which the actors then used to improvise their lines. Waiting for Guffman first aired at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Boston Film Festival in 1996. According to Filmsite.org, the film was nominated for the American Film Institute’s “100 Years… 100 Laughs,” which honored the funniest movies of all time.

Waiting for Guffman is available to watch on HBO Max.

Eugene Levy Movies: American Pie (1999) & American Pie 2 (2001)

Eugene Levy played Jim’s (Jason Biggs) Dad in the iconic 1999 comedy American Pie. Directed by Paul Weltz, the film follows a group of five high school friends who vow to lose their virginity on the night before their graduation.

American Pie also stars Jennifer Coolidge, Alyson Hannigan, and Chris Klein. Eugene Levy won a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Comedy Actor, according to Variety.

Eugene Levy reprised his role as Jim’s dad in the 2001 sequel American Pie 2. Directed by James B. Rogers, the sequel follows the same group of friends from the first film in the summer after their freshman year of college. Similar to the first movie, the story takes viewers through the five boys’ relationship struggles as they attempt to throw a memorable summer party.

Eugene Levy won a Canadian Comedy Award in 2002 for Best Performance by a Male- Film. He went on to star in a number of films in the American Pie series, including American Wedding (2003), and American Pie Presents: Band Camp (2005).

American Pie and American Pie 2 are available to watch for free on Peacock.

Eugene Levy Movies: Best in Show (2000)

Eugene Levy wrote and starred in the 2000 comedy mockumentary Best in Show. Directed by Christopher Guest (who also stars in the movie), the film parodies dog shows. Eugene Levy plays the lead role of Gerry Fleck, who enters his dog in the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show with his wife Cookie (Catherine O’Hara).

The film follows Gerry and Cookie along with four other couples and their dogs as they prepare for the show and their pups compete. Best in Show also stars John Michael Higgins, Jennifer Coolidge, and Jane Lynch.

In 2001, Eugene Levy won a Canadian Comedy Award for Best Performance by a Male- Film, and the movie won the award for Best Writing- Film. Best in Show also won an American Film Insitute Award for Movie of the Year in 2001.

In 2012, Best in Show made Yahoo!’s list of “100 Funniest Movies to See Before You Die.”  According to Philadelphia Magazine, Jon Miller of NBC Sports was inspired to air the National Dog Show on Thanksgiving after watching Best in Show. 

Best in Show is available to watch on HBO Max.

Eugene Levy Movies: New York Minute (2004)

Eugene Levy starred as Max Lomax in the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen film New York Minute. The film follows teenage twins named Roxy and Jane Ryan who have opposite personalities. The two travel to New York so Jane can give a speech to receive a scholarship and Roxy can deliver her demo to a music group.

Eugene Levy’s character is a truant officer in search of Roxy (Mary-Kate Olsen). The film follows the twins’ escapades throughout the city as they try to avoid Max. New York Minute also stars Jared Padalecki, Riley Smith, and Bob Saget as himself.

New York Minute was directed by Dennie Gordon (What a Girl Wants) and marked the second theatrical release from the Olsen twins. This was also the last film to star both Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

Eugene Levy Movies: Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005)

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 is the sequel to the 2003 family comedy Cheaper by the Dozen. The film once again follows the Baker family as they take one last family vacation to a lake in Wisconsin.

Eugene Levy plays Jimmy Murtaugh, father to the rival family of the Bakers. Jimmy, his wife, and their eight kids are vacationing at the same lake as the Bakers. Jimmy constantly brags to Tom Baker about his success and holds his parenting style above that of the Bakers.

The Bakers then plan to face off against the Murtaughs in the Annual Labor Day Family Cup. The Baker family is tested while training for the competition and must see if they can come together before the Cup.

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 was directed by Adam Shankman (A Walk to Remember, The Pacifier) and also stars Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hilary Duff, and Jaime King.

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 is available to watch on Disney+.

Eugene Levy Movies: The Man (2005)

Eugene Levy stars alongside Samuel L. Jackson in the 2005 comedy The Man. Eugene Levy plays Andy Fiddler, a dentist attending a convention in Detroit who crosses paths with agent Derrick Vann (Samuel L. Jackson) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

The movie follows the two as they unintentionally team up in order to clear Vann’s name after he has been accused of an ATF robbery. Directed by Les Mayfield (Miracle on 34th Street, Flubber), The Man also stars Luke Goss, Susie Essman, and Anthony Mackie.

Eugene Levy Movies: Madea’s Witness Protection (2012)

Eugene Levy played George Needleman in Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection. Needleman is a New York City CFO who learns that the company he works for is a scheme run by the mob. Accused of running the scheme, Needleman and his family must enter the Witness Protection Program.

In the program, the Needleman family is sent to Madea’s house in Georgia. While staying at the house, Madea helps the Needlemans strengthen their relationships with one another. Madea’s Witness Protection also stars Denise Richards, Doris Roberts, and Romeo Miller.

Madea’s Witness Protection is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

Eugene Levy TV Shows: Schitt’s Creek (2015-2020)

Probably Eugene Levy’s most recognizable project, Schitt’s Creek was created by Eugene and his son Dan Levy. The sitcom centers around the Roses, a wealthy family who owns a video store and loses their fortune after being swindled by their business manager. The family then moves to Schitt’s Creek—a town they once purchased as a joke. Schitt’s Creek follows their experience assimilating into life there.


 
 
 
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The Rose family is made up of Johnny Rose (Eugene Levy), Moira Rose (Catherine O’Hara), David Rose (Dan Levy), and Lexis Rose (Annie Murphy). The show also stars Eugene Levy’s daughter Sarah as Twyla Sands. The show has a long list of producers including Eugene, Dan, and Fred Levy. Eugene has also written for the show.

Schitt’s Creek aired for six seasons on Canada’s CBC Television from 2015 to 2020. It was added to Netflix in January 2017. Since then, it has grown to be a crowd favorite and has been widely discussed on social media. The show has also been praised for having a pansexual character (David Rose), and it received GLAAD Media Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series in both 2020 and 2021.


 
 
 
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Schitt’s Creek has received critical acclaim, being nominated for a multitude of awards. In 2020, the show won every major comedy Emmy, according to The New York Times. This included Eugene Levy’s award for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series. Eugene also won Canadian Screen Awards for Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Comedic Role in 2016 and 2020.

Check out the trailer for Schitt’s Creek’s last season:

Schitt’s Creek is available to watch on Netflix.

Eugene Levy: Voice Roles

Throughout his career, Eugene Levy has voiced various characters in a number of animated films. He provided the voice for Clovis in the 2006 adventure comedy film Curious George. His character is an inventor that constructs robotic animals. The film also stars Frank Welker, Will Ferrell, and Drew Barrymore.

Curious George is available to watch on HBO Max.

Eugene Levy starred in the 2006 DreamWorks film Over the Hedge as a porcupine named Lou. The movie follows a neighborhood’s group of wild animals travel over a hedge in order to get food from humans’ houses. The film also stars Bruce Willis, Steve Carrell, Wanda Sykes, and Garry Shandling.

Over the Hedge is available to watch on HBO Max.

Eugene Levy voiced the role of Orrin in the 2009 computer-animated film Astro Boy. The film follows Toby Tenma, who lives in Metro City—a futuristic community that floats above the earth. After Toby is accidentally killed, his father Dr. Tenma brings him back to life as a robot. Eugene Levy voiced the character of the robot servant of the Tenma household.

Astro Boy also stars Freddie Highmore, Nicolas Cage, Kristen Bell, and Samuel L. Jackson. The film is available to watch on HBO Max.

In a 2009 interview with Toronto news station CP24, Eugene Levy said that voicing animated characters allows him to give an elevated performance that he isn’t able to do with live-action roles.

Most recently, Eugene Levy starred in the 2016 Disney film Finding Dory as Dory’s father Charlie. The film follows the Finding Nemo (2003) character Dory on her journey to find where her family and where she came from. The film also stars Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, and Diane Keaton.

Check out the movie trailer:

Finding Dory is available to watch on Disney+.

Eugene Levy’s Advocacy for Autism Awareness

Eugene Levy has been vocal about his support for autism awareness. In 2007, he teamed up with Canadian Senator Jim Munson to be a spokesman for affordable and accessible autism treatment, according to CTV News.

In a press release, Eugene Levy said:

“Canada is blessed in so many ways but somehow some of our most vulnerable citizens are being wrongfully neglected. It is time to address this wrong and provide these individuals with the same access to medically necessary treatment that the rest of us enjoy throughout our lifetimes under our country’s alleged universal health-care system.” 

When a group of families sued Premier Doug Ford’s government after cutting financial assistance for adults with severe autism in 2019, Eugene Levy was quick to voice his support. The actor urged the government to reverse the cost cuts, as reported by CTV News. At the time, Eugene’s cousin Brenda Deskin had a 24-year-old son named Michael who was affected by these cuts. Deskin was one of the family members to sue.

According to the Toronto Star, Eugene Levy said of the issue, “It is time that our government starts working with [these families] instead of against them.”

Watch Eugene Levy’s interview with Your Morning, where he spoke about the funding cuts in 2019.

It’s clear that Eugene Levy’s career has been nothing short of outstanding, and we can’t wait to see what he embarks on next!

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