Maurice Levy: “Wanted to be a Surgeon, but...”
Posted on 2009 Jun,22

Maurice Levy needs no introduction, being one of the communications icons of this generation. In the following interview, he opens up without any pretences.


“I joined an ad firm by accident. I made it my day and night job by passion.”


What kills you most?

A bad creative idea.

What gets you up in the morning?

The alarm clock. More seriously, the challenges every day brings us.

What happened to your childhood dreams?

They are gone. I wanted to be a surgeon and save lives.

What distinguishes you from others?

Hmmm! Difficult for me to say. I think everyone is different, has his own history, culture, family environment, education, etc... One thing is essential for me: passion.

What do you need most?

Like everybody: love.

Do you think that anyone can become an artist?

No. Sorry. I think anyone can try to become an artist, but life is unfair and intelligence, sensitivity, emotions and talent are not equally distributed.

Where are you from?

A loving family.

Do you feel your situation is enviable?

I have a very nice life, with huge responsibilities. I’m making a reasonable amount of money and have a great family. Yes, I think my situation is enviable.

What have you given up on?

Time, leisure, and more importantly, I have not seen my sons growing up.

What do you do with your money?

I use the money to have a good standard of life. I buy some contemporary paintings; I do some good around me.

What moves you?

Plenty of things: a baby’s smile, tears, diseases, Africa...

What are your favourite pleasures?

I enjoy being with my family -- a lot. I like visiting galleries, antique shops, going to movies, good food, and simply walking in Paris.

What would you like to receive for your birthday?

Time, time and more time. I think the days are too short to do everything I have to do.

Name three living artists that you hate most?

No, I can’t do that. Why should I do such a nasty thing?

What or whom do you defend?

The poor, freedom, my country, my family and my friends, art, medical research, victims.

What are you capable of refusing?

Money; an advertising account for a cause or a product I do not like; and I refuse to com- promise with my values.

What are you capable of doing in the name of love?

Anything I believe.

What are you blamed for?

Excessively demanding. Certainly tough in my management. Impatient.

What does art bring to you?


Who do you think you are?

A decent person I hope.

What drives you nuts?

Stupidity. Slowness.

Write your own epitaph?

No, thank you. I leave that to my heirs.

Under what form would you like to come back as?

I’m not sure I would like to come back. I think I have a life full of joy. But if you insist, I would like to see without being seen: the Invisible Man. After a life of having been so visible, it will be restful.

What was the last book you read?

“Le Lièvre de Patagonie” by my friend Claude Lanzmann.

Do you like animals?

I don’t like having pets at home.

Why did you choose Advertising?

I joined an ad firm by accident. I made it my day and night job by passion.

Who is the woman of your dreams? honestly!

When I was young I dreamt of movie stars. Professionally, I have been obsessed by “under 50 housewives,” but the one who made my life great is simply my wife (for 46 years!).

What is your philosophy in life?

Climb higher.

What is the most important thing in your life?

Without hesitation: my family; and beyond my family: Publicis.

Talk to an alien.

To an alien? Bonjour.