Who was John Levy? The ex-boyfriend of Billie Holiday appears in the new biopic, The United States vs. Billie Holiday.

The movie was released on 26 February 2021. It details Holiday’s career and the narcotics case against her led by the FBI.

While the movie centres on the criminal case, it also delves into details of Billie Holiday’s personal life. One of the real life characters introduced in the movie was John Levy, the ex-boyfriend of Holiday.

Find out about John Levy here.

John Levy and Billie Holiday

John Levy was Billie Holiday’s manager-boyfriend. He ran New York City’s Ebony Club where Holiday frequently performed.

Their turbulent, and oftentimes violent, relationship was detailed in The United States vs. Billie Holiday. A scene in the movie shows Levy planting drugs on Holiday and setting her up for another arrest. The setup appears to be coordinated by Levy, although it was reported that Holiday and Levy were both arrested during the early-1949 raid.

Billie Holiday married three times. First to Jimmy Monroe (1941-1947), then Joe Guy (1951-1957), finally Louis McKay (1957-1959).


It is unknown what happened to John Levy.

Who was John Levy the musician?

There was another, coincidentally, John Levy who was associated with Billie Holiday. This John Levy was a jazz musician turned businessman who played the double bass with Holiday at Carnegie Hall.

This is not the same John Levy who we see in The United States vs. Billie Holiday, despite sharing the same name.

Levy was born on 11 April 1912 in New Orleans. He died on 20 January 1912, just three months shy of his 100th birthday. In 1997, Levy was inducted to the International Jazz Hall of Fame. He also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Jazz Society.

How to watch The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Tone Bell stars as John Levy in the biopic. The 37-year-old is best-known for his stand-up comedy, however has moved into the world of serious acting.

The United States vs. Billie Holiday is available to stream on Hulu.

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