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Lewis Largent, Influential MTV ‘120 Minutes’ VJ and KROQ DJ, Dies at 58

Lewis Largent, who was known to millions in the 1980s and ‘90s as an influential alternative-music MTV VJ and DJ on KROQ, died on Feb. 20 after a long illness, his family confirms to Variety. He was 58.

A native of Southern California, Largent was an enthusiastic golfer as a teen, and he met the general manager of the Los Angeles alternative-radio powerhouse KROQ while working at a country club. Impressed with Largent’s knowledge of music, the GM offered him an internship at the station that led to a full-time role in 1985. He rose quickly through the ranks and was named music director in 1989.

In 1992, Largent left the station to take a VP of music programming post at MTV, where he soon began hosting “120 Minutes.” That show, a 1990s Sunday-night tradition on the channel, expanded the genre’s reach nationwide — and Largent’s. (This writer can recall a certain major label president striving to impress executives in a meeting with his ability to get Largent to take his call.) David Bowie, Bjork, Trent Reznor, Radiohead and PJ Harvey were among the many artists he hosted on “120 Minutes.”

Largent left the show in 1995 but remained in his programming post until 1999, when he was named a senior vice president of A&R at Island Def Jam Records. There, he signed Sum 41, Andrew WK and worked closely with a number of other artists before leaving the label in 2004. Seven years later, he decided to go back to college and got his BA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College and his MFA in 2015.

He is survived by his wife, Atlantic Music Group chairman/CEO Julie Greenwald, and their two children.

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