Obituary - June Perry Levine

June Perry Levine, professor emerita of English and founder of the Film Studies program at UNL, died at her Lincoln home on May 26. She was 83.

Levine was born in New York City. She grew up in Washington Heights along with other children of Jewish immigrants. Enrolling at Brooklyn College at age 16, she became part of an active wartime intellectual and political community. During the summers, she worked as a camp counselor in upstate New York working with developmentally delayed youth. There she met fellow counselor David Levine. The two were married on June 20, 1948, in Manhattan.

That same year she earned a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College. She went on to earn a master’s degree in English language and literature from the University of Michigan in 1949.

In 1957, the family moved to Lincoln, where David Levine became a member of UNL’s Psychology Department. She completed her Ph.D. in 1967 with a doctoral dissertation on E.M. Forster’s “A Passage to India.” The dissertation was later published by the University of Nebraska Press. She joined the UNL English department faculty as an assistant professor in 1969 and became a full professor in 1985.

Her academic focus was modern British and American fiction. Levine was responsible for the development of a series of graduate-level seminars on modern fiction, including seminars on Nabokov, the Bloomsbury Group, Forster, and Capote/Mailer/Bellow.

At the same time, Levine developed her expertise in film, recognizing it as an important modern art form. Her studies included a half-year at the British Film Institute in London. She taught the first film studies course at UNL in 1970 and led an effort to make film studies a minor by 1977. Today, film studies is offered as a major. Levine created courses on film theory and criticism, documentaries, national cinemas, and individual directors. She published extensively on film, both critical reviews and scholarship on the adaptation of literature into film.

Levine received the College of Arts and Sciences’ Distinguished Teaching Award in 1981. The award recognized her rigorous attention to students’ writing at all levels.

Levine retired from UNL in 1993. In 2006, she received the Mary Riepma Ross Award for her contribution to the study and appreciation of film.

Widowed in 1976, Levine is survived by her brother Robert Perry (Frances) of Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., and her four children, Katha Dalton (Mark), Jane Levine (Randy Signor) and Adam Levine of Seattle, and Emily Levine of Lincoln, and two grandchildren, Johanna Dalton of Seattle and David Dalton of New York City.

A memorial service is 6 p.m., June 25 at the Sheldon Museum of Art. The family requests donations to organizations Levine supported, including Nebraskans for Peace, the Human Rights Commission and Common Cause Nebraska.