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Len Levy

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Len Levy

Len Levy
No. 64, 76, 35
Position: Guard
Personal information
Date of birth: (1921-02-19)February 19, 1921
Place of birth: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date of death: February 9, 1999(1999-02-09) (aged 77)
Place of death: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 256 lb (116 kg)
Career information
High school: Minneapolis (MN) West
College: Minnesota
NFL draft: 1942 / Round: 4 / Pick: 27
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Stats at
Stats at

Leonard Bernard "Len / Butch" Levy (February 19, 1921 – February 9, 1999) was an American football guard who played two seasons with the Cleveland/Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Cleveland Rams in the fourth round of the 1942 NFL Draft. He played college football at the University of Minnesota and attended West High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Levy was also a member of the Los Angeles Dons of the All-America Football Conference.[1] He was a collegiate and professional wrestler as well.


  • Early years 1
  • College career 2
  • Professional football career 3
    • Cleveland/Los Angeles Rams 3.1
    • Los Angeles Dons 3.2
  • Professional wrestling career 4
  • Personal life 5
  • Championships and accomplishments 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early years

Levy won twelve letters in wrestling, football, baseball and hockey at West High School. He was the 1937 and 1938 Minnesota high school and Northwest AAU heavyweight wrestling champion.[2]

College career

Levy played for the Minnesota Golden Gophers from 1939 to 1941.[3] The Gophers won the national championship in 1940 and 1941, finishing with an 8-0 record both seasons while Levy earned All-American honors both years.[2][4] He garnered AP All-Western Conference first team recognition his senior year in 1941.[3] He was named to the Chicago College All-Star Game in 1942.[2] Levy participated in collegiate wrestling, winning the NCAA heavyweight championship in 1941, becoming the first Golden Gopher to do so and also earned All-American honors the same year.[5][6] He suffered a broken foot midway through the 1941-42 season, causing him to miss the rest of the year.[6] He won the AAU heavyweight championship in wrestling in 1942.[7][8] Levy also lettered in baseball for the Golden Gophers in 1942.[9] He graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics.[2] He was inducted into the University of Minnesota's "M" Club Hall of Fame in 1994.[5]

Professional football career

Cleveland/Los Angeles Rams

Levy was selected by the Cleveland Rams with the 27th pick in the 1942 NFL Draft. He then spent three years in the United States Navy during World War II.[3] He was initially disallowed from joining the military due to poor eyesight but he was allowed entry after agreeing to play football for the Great Lakes Navy Bluejackets.[2][10] Levy subsequently played in seven games for the Rams during the 1945 season.[3] The Rams won the NFL Championship against the Washington Redskins on December 16, 1945.[11] The Rams moved to Los Angeles in 1946 and Len played in ten games for the Los Angeles Rams during the 1946 season.[3]

Los Angeles Dons

Levy played in 25 games for the Los Angeles Dons from 1947 to 1948. He earned All-AAFC first team honors in 1948. He retired after the 1948 season.[3]

Professional wrestling career

Levy became a professional wrestler after his football career. He participated in the NWA Minneapolis Boxing & Wrestling Club / American Wrestling Association, wrestling under the ring name of "Butch Levy". He was a two-time NWA World Tag Team champion, first with Verne Gagne and later with Leo Nomellini, both of whom also played for the Minnesota Golden Gophers.[6] Levy met amateur wrestler Pat O'Connor from New Zealand during a wrestling tour in Pat's home country in 1950.[12] Levy then trained him to be a professional wrestler. O'Connor later won the AWA World Heavyweight Championship and NWA World Heavyweight Championship.[13]

Personal life

Levy married Loretta "Lucky" Bellson in January 1944 and they had three children. Lucky died in 1997.[14] Len was Jewish and was active in the Jewish community.[2][15] He worked in his father's plumbing business before selling it in the late 1960s and becoming an insurance agent for Bankers Life. Levy became a stockbroker in the 1970s and later worked for Piper Jaffray.[2] He was also a securities salesman.[16] He suffered a brain tumor in 1991. Levy's son Rand said Len was "supposed to die" but "people were just astounded to see him a year later on the golf course."[2]

Levy died of cancer on February 9, 1999 at his home in Minneapolis.[2]

Championships and accomplishments


  1. ^ "LEN LEVY". Retrieved July 26, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Her, Lucy Y. (February 11, 1999). "Butch Levy, 78, 'U' football star".  
  3. ^ a b c d e f """Levy, Len "Butch. Retrieved July 26, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Minnesota Yearly Results". Retrieved July 26, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Leonard "Butch" Levy". Retrieved July 26, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Palmer, Mark (May 31, 2007). "InterMat Rewind: Minnesota's heavyweight legacy". Retrieved July 26, 2015. 
  7. ^ Wechsler, Bob (2008). Day by Day in Jewish Sports History. KTAV Publishing House, Inc. p. 102. 
  8. ^ "AAU NATIONAL FREESTYLE CHAMPIONS" (PDF). Retrieved July 26, 2015. 
  9. ^ Christensen, Ray (2012). Ray Christensen's Gopher Tales: Stories from all Eleven University of Minnesota's Men's Sports. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. 
  10. ^ "There's a Battle Ahead in Soldier's Field".  
  11. ^ "A game of inches". Retrieved July 26, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Pat O'Connor". Retrieved July 26, 2015. 
  13. ^ Grasso, John (2014). Historical Dictionary of Wrestling. Scarecrow Press. p. 213. 
  14. ^ "Leonard "Butch" Levy". Retrieved July 26, 2015. 
  15. ^ Hunegs, Steve (November 23, 2011). "Ruminations on Gopher football, racism, WWII and Sandy Stephens from a long-suffering fan". Retrieved July 26, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Leonard "Butch" Levy in his Navy uniform, Minneapolis, Minnesota". Retrieved July 26, 2015. 

External links

  • Just Sports Stats
  • Cagematch profile
  • profile
  • Len Levy at Find a Grave
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