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Harold Levitt, 81; Architect Created Homes for Stars of Show Business

April 29, 2003|From a Times Staff Writer

Harold Levitt, a veteran architect who designed homes for the rich and famous, including Walter Mirisch, Steven Spielberg and Lew Wasserman, has died. He was 81.

Levitt, who retired to Reno two years ago, died of natural causes Thursday at his vacation home in Las Vegas.

The Wassermans' modern glass-walled mansion may be among the best known of Levitt's creations because of its use over many years as a venue for fund-raising events for politicians and organizations such as the Los Angeles Music Center's Center Theatre Group.

But over Levitt's half-century career, the architect also created homes for such show-business personalities as Olivia Newton John, Ross Hunter, Quincy Jones, Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Debbie Reynolds, Lionel Ritchie, Kenny Rogers and Hal Wallis.

He also designed such commercial projects as the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas and the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts & Sciences in Los Angeles.

Born Harold Warren Levitt in San Francisco on July 26, 1921, he earned a bachelor's degree in graphic arts at Stanford University and an architecture degree at USC. He based his firm, Levitt, LeDuc & Farwell, in Beverly Hills.

Levitt is survived by his wife of 58 years, Jane Spalding Levitt; a son, Lansford, of Reno; a brother, William C. Putney of Monarch Beach; two granddaughters; and his caregiver, Nestor Sortigosad.

A memorial Mass is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday at All Saints Episcopal Church, 504 N. Camden Drive, Beverly Hills.

The family has asked that any memorial contributions be made to the donor's favorite charity.

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