Best remembered for his Academy Award-winning art direction for the popular 1961 movie version of West Side Story, this cinematic artist and production designer also contributed to such films as Invaders from Mars, Anatomy of a Murder, The Sound of Music, and The Andromeda Strain.
In the late 1920s, he moved from Moscow, Russia to the United States. After earning a bachelor's degree in architecture from the University of Southern California, he trained at New York City's Beaux-Arts Institute of Design.
For his work on both New York, New York and West Side Story, he recreated the New York cityscape on a sound stage.
His marriage to Vera Glooshkoff lasted from 1946 until his death in 1986.
As the designer for director George Stevens' 1956 film, Giant, Leven created an image of a Victorian house in the middle of a large field.