Although he may have a lot in common with his television counterpart from the short-lived Freaks and Geeks, in reality Samm Levine is much more outgoing than his prime time parallel, performing standup comedy at some of New York's finest comedy clubs by the age of 15 and soon after becoming the youngest member of the New York Friar's Club. Born March 12, 1982, in Chicago, IL, and raised in Fort Lee, New Jersey, young Levine got his first taste of the spotlight when, at age 12, he emceed his sixth grade talent show. Performing standup at his bar mitzvah the following year, the aspiring jokester was soon being dropped off by his mother for performances at such Big Apple comedy staples as Carolines, Stand-Up N.Y., and the Gotham Comedy Club. Subsequently landing numerous commercial roles, Levine kicked off his television career with appearances in One Life to Live and Discovery Kids. A severe asthmatic who made frequent trips to the emergency room during his youth, his respiratory disease often made the demands of school and comedy appearances even more difficult to endure. Praised for his performance as the young member of the "geek" half of television's Freaks and Geeks, Levine originally auditioned for the role of Sam Weir (eventually essayed by John Francis Daley), though he was almost perfectly suited to the role of the smart, bully dodging, aspiring comic character of Neil Schweiber. Though the show was canceled after a short run, episodes gained a devoted following thanks to repeat airings on the FOX Family Channel, and Levine later re-joined Freaks and Geeks creator Judd Apatow (as well as a few of his former freaky cast members) for Apatow's next small-screen endeavor, the widely praised Undeclared (2001). That same year, Levine would make his feature debut in the teen spoof Not Another Teen Movie. Roles in Broken Lizard's Club Dread, Pulse, I Love You, Beth Cooper, and Inglorious Basterds followed, yet all the while Levine continued to rack up an impressive list of television credits thanks to appearances in Entourage, Veronica Mars, Modern Family, and NCIS.
Biography by Jason Buchanan
- Added the extra "m" to his first name because there was already a Sam Levine in the Screen Actors Guild.
- Performed stand-up comedy at clubs in New York City when he was 15.
- Like his character Neal Schweiber on Freaks and Geeks, his father is a dentist.
- Made his feature-film debut in the 2001 teen spoof Not Another Teen Movie.
- At the time he was inducted into New York Friars' Club, he was the group's youngest member.