Jules Levy, producer of such famed TV Westerns as “The Rifleman” and “The Big Valley” and numerous films, died May 24 in L.A. after a long illness. He was 80.
L.A. native was reared in BevHills, joined the Army Air Force during WWII and served in a production unit at Hal Roach Studios in Culver City commanded by Ronald Reagan. While in the service he met Arthur Gardner and Arnold Laven, and they later formed a lasting production company that made movies and TV shows, with Levy and Gardner producing and Laven directing. Levy and Gardner remained in business together 52 years.
Levy also was producer or executive producer on about 30 films, including the 1940 version of the Broadway hit “The Boys From Syracuse”; Kansas City Bomber” starring Raquel Welch; John Wayne starrers “Brannigan” and “McQ”; Sydney Pollack-helmed “The Scalphunters” starring Burt Lancaster and Shelley Winters; Elvis Presley starrer “Clambake”; and star-filled “The Hunting Party.”
“The Rifleman” ran 1958-63 and starred Chuck Connors; “The Big Valley,” 1965-69, starred Barbara Stanwyck.
Survivors include wife Shirley and producer son Robert Levy.