Les Levine, longtime Cleveland sports broadcaster, dies at 74

CLEVELAND -- - Les Levine, a longtime broadcaster and the self-proclaimed "voice of truth and reason" when it came to analyzing Cleveland's sports teams, has died. He was 74.

His death Wednesday night was announced by his daughter, Dr. Jamie Levine Daniel. She said he died from diabetes and Parkinson's disease. She and brother Jeremy were with him when he died.

"He fought so hard for so long, and went out on his own terms," she said.

Levine, a fixture of Cleveland sports for more than 50 years, continued to work for several years following his Parkinson's diagnosis. He was open about his struggles with the disease and vowed that it wouldn't slow him.

Engaging and quick-witted, Levine was best known for his call-in radio shows. His banter with callers was often entertaining whether the discussions revolved around problems with the Indians' bullpen or if the Browns could find a starting quarterback.

One of the staples of Levine's shows were his "How Come Quickies," innocuous questions that led to puns. The only rule was the question had to begin with, "How come." An example: "How come you can signal for a fair catch, but you can't signal for a good catch?"

Levine was honored last year for Excellence in Radio by the Cleveland Association of Broadcasters and he's a member of the Radio & Television Broadcasters Hall of Fame of Ohio.

After graduating from Ohio State, Levine became a teacher before deciding to attend broadcasting school. He started as a disc jockey in Indiana before returning to Northeast Ohio and working in Akron.

Levine worked at several stations and served as the pregame and postgame host for Browns, Indians and Cavaliers telecasts. He did play-by-play broadcasts for Kent State and Cleveland State.

He also wrote columns for the Cleveland Jewish News.

In 1996, Levine's "More Sports & Les Levine" radio moved to cable television and in recent years was shown daily on cleveland.com.

In addition to his daughter and son, Levine's survivors include his wife of 21 years, Allison.

Funeral arrangements are pending.