Harvey Levin was born in 1951.

He graduated from the University of Chicago with his J.D., passed his California bar exam in 1975 and practiced in Los Angeles for a few years, while teaching at Whittier College of Law.

But his calling was television and he got his first break covering the O.J. Simpson trial - and also his first blooper, as a report he made almost caused a mistrial.

He then moved to New York and let his California bar membership lapse when he was named host of a new show, Celebrity Justice. It was all car-chase, live tragedy - sensational TV (some would say sleaze) to the core, not far off from Jerry Springer.

Recently, the Time-Warner media giant hired him to grow their new sleaze journalism website, TMZ.com. TMZ is now, as often as possible, used as a source by the parent's mainstream media publishers: all to attract traffic to an ad-laden website.

Harvey LevinUndeniably, TMZ is a highly successful website, ranked 354th in the world according to Alexa.com as of August 29, 2009, with 400,000 visitors daily, the runaway #1 entertainment website. TMZ stands for "thirty-mile zone", the traditional catchment area around Hollywood for paparazzi on the hunt.

But such traffic is based on exclusive junk news. Even the TMZ website describes it's popularity as stemming not from fire-fighters or heroes but from indiscretions of professional actors and singers:

"...Mel Gibson's DUI arrest and subsequent encounter with law enforcement, and Michael Richards' ill-fated trip to the Laugh Factory. TMZ also broke the news of the breakup of Britney Spears and Kevin Federline's marriage."

As the owner of rival SplashNews told The Guardian Newspaper:

"It is very raw, it is very crude, it's not polished, but it works."

Still, this is a highly successful website and television show and with it, Levin basks in the glory of having become a celebrity himself.

And to support his celebrity, Levin's constant catchphrase will make practising attorneys cringe:

"I'm a lawyer".

But one profile, in Radaronline Magazine, titled its story on Levin, Sultan of Sleaze.

Levin, Jewish and homosexual, manages an aggressive crew of reporters, photographers and videographers trailing music industry and Hollywood stars and rushing to every sighting; a true Internet age paparazzi.

And, he's, like a lawyer.

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