Shelley "The Machine" Levene
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Shelley "The Machine" Levene

Glengarry Glen Ross

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About Him

Living… in Chicago with his wife and daughter, although Shelley spends almost all his time at work.

Profession… real estate salesman. As a younger man Shelley was a successful salesman, earning the nickname Shelley “The Machine” Levene. Since they get paid by commission the job is already competitive, but the stakes are raised when it’s announced that at the end of the month, everyone except the top two salesmen will be fired. If that wasn’t enough of an incentive, the remaining salesmen will be given access to the lucrative Glengarry leads. Too old to contemplate another career, Shelley will do anything to break his slump and climb to the top of the sales board.

Interests… the old days. Shelley loves nothing more than the feeling of making a sale, and loves to wax loquacious about his golden years when he felt like he could sell anything.

Relationship status… married, although little is known about the specifics of the Levene’s relationship. He keeps a picture of his wife on his desk and talks to her lovingly, but the couple is under a lot of stress due to his daughter’s unspecified, but debilitating, illness.

Challenge… keeping his job. Shelley only has a week to climb from the bottom of the leaderboard to one of the top two spots. That's not an easy task with the weak leads they’ve been getting from Mitch and Murray. Driven by transparent desperation, Shelley will bribe, blackmail, boast, lie, and con to get his numbers up, keep his job, and get his hands on the fabled Glengarry leads.

Personality… fast-talking, washed-up, and desperate. Proud yet past his prime, Shelley’s mood is entirely dependent on his professional success. He’s terrifically confident and happy when he’s on top of the board, and terrifically depressed and worried when he’s on the bottom. He talks about the “rules of the game” and scorns the younger salesmen for their failure to follow some kind of salesman’s code, but doesn’t display much integrity himself. He has defined himself by what he does for a living, and in an often shallow profession like sales – and least the way it's practiced at Shelley's firm – that's not a good or healthy thing.

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