A genteel southern gentleman with sad eyes, Levine was the son of a Polish dry goods store owner who was educated at Louisiana State University. He became an electrical and flight control systems expert who began working for North American in 1950. He worked on the F-86, F-100, F-107, F-108, B-70 and Sabreliner aircraft before being asked by Harrison Storms to join his new space division in 1960. Levine only accepted the job after some embarrassed hesitation. He ended up as chief of electrical systems for the spacecraft, with 2000 engineers and technicians reporting to him. He was intensely aware of the importance of the cockpit layout in a spacecraft with its hundreds of switches and gauges. He spent a lot of personal time in the Apollo cockpit mockup across from his office, visualizing himself in various situations, trying to make sure the instrument layouts made sense. Levine survived the management purge at North American after the Apollo fire, and was able to participate as a spacecraft systems expert at Cape Canaveral and Houston during the Apollo moon flights.