Song and Dance Star
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
My parents, Tillie and Selig Levine, had
four children. I was the youngest and the
only boy. My sisters were much older. I actually
attended my older sister’s wedding as an
infant. We lived in the Allerton section of
the Bronx and I went to P.S. 96, P.S. 89 and
graduated from Christopher Columbus High
School. While at City College Downtown I
was an active member of the Drama Club.
My teachers encouraged me to try out for
parts in the nascent TV industry. I did do
several commercials and appeared on the
Arlene Francis Show.
I was drafted into the U. S. Army where
I won the All Army Talent Contest and this
led to two appearances on the Ed Sullivan
Show. Soon, the Army sent me around the
world, twice, entertaining our troops.
WHAT CAME NEXT?
After my Army discharge I met Barbara
Berger, a Bronx girl, and we married soon
after. We started out in apartments in the
Bronx and Queens and then bought a lovely
house in East Northport where we raised
our children during the next 20 years. This
wonderful 48-year marriage lasted until
Barbara’s untimely death in 2006.
We have three children and four grandchildren.
Robin lives in Westchester, Jill in
Denver, and Robert in Florida. While raising
my family I worked for the Westinghouse
Broadcasting Company and did commercials
on WINS Radio. I was the one who
got Barney’s to advertise on WINS, a deal
which lasted for more than 20 years.
As my wife’s health began to fail we
moved to West Palm Beach, Florida, where
she enjoyed the warmer weather for her last
WHAT BROUGHT YOU BACK TO NEW YORK?
After Barbara’s passing I was lonely in
Florida. A friend suggested I go on the J-Date
website. I posted a photo and a brief bio. It
caught the attention of a snowbird, Susie. She
liked what I wrote but had no computer skills.
She enlisted the aid of her daughter, Ellen. It
became a three-way correspondence. I wrote
to Susie and her daughter downloaded my
messages. Susie dictated a response which
Ellen emailed to me. After a few months we
finally met. We immediately clicked. Ellen
lives in Roslyn. My daughter Robin lives in
We decided to move back north to be near our
daughters and chose Bayside, Queens. Soon,
in 2016, we moved to North Shore Towers.
It was a wonderful decision. We enjoyed the
amenities, the programs, the shows, and the
people who shared our ages and interests. But
life intrudes. My Susie began to suffer from a
dreaded illness and I could no longer care for
her without help. She is now at the Brandywine
in Little Neck, where I visit her every day. We
have lunch together and talk about the “good
DO YOU EVER REMINISCE
ABOUT YOUR DAYS
AS AN ENTERTAINER?
Yes, especially when I meet people who
remember those days. After my Army stint
where I sang and danced around the globe, I did
the Borsht Circuit in the Catskill Mountains.
I had many gigs as a comedian, singer, dancer
and master of ceremonies, and I even taught
Latin dancing. Guests of the hotels loved my
lessons, especially the Cha Cha, and I earned
tips. It was a Spartan existence. I had to share
a bedroom with members of the band and my
closet was a nail on the wall where I hung my
“good” clothes. But it was fun and was just
for the summers.
WHAT IS LIFE LIKE
AS A SINGLE MAN LIVING AT
NORTH SHORE TOWERS?
I’m not single and spend time with my wife
every day. The rest of the time I’m kept busy
with my weekly poker game and the varied
activities of the NST Men’s Club. They are a
great group of guys and always come up with
fun things I can participate in, even solo.
Moving here was a smart move.
Most of our residents are unaware that the jolly, jaunty gentleman in Building Two with
the mega-smile entertained our troops all over the world with his song and dance routines
during the Korean War. Some of you saw him at the October Men’s Club Karaoke Night
as he dazzled the large audience. Many more of you were moved by his rendition of “The
House I Live In” at the Veterans Day Salute in the Towers on the Green on November 11.
Many a tear was shed followed by thunderous applause. His is a story of a Bronx boy who
saw the world.
Murray crooned at NST’s Veterans’ Day Salute
4 NORTH SHORE TOWERS COURIER ¢ January 2020