Lewis Largent, the influential host of MTV’s 120 Minutes, KROQ radio DJ, and A&R senior at Island Def Jam Records, has died at the age of 58.
Largent died on February 20 after a long illness, his family confirmed to Variety this week.
He fronted MTV’s alternative music show 120 Minutes in the early to mid-’90s after joining the brand as Vice President of Music Programming, interviewing acts including David Bowie, Trent Reznor, Radiohead, Björk and Smashing Pumpkins.
The southern California-raised tastemaker began his music industry with an internship at Los Angeles’ famed alternative rock radio station, KROQ. He began working for the station full time in 1985 and was promoted to a music director position in 1989.
Largent stepped down from presenting 120 Minutes for MTV in 1995 but continued to serve as a programmer for MTV until 1999 before joining Island Def Jam Records as Senior Vice President of A&R. Under his supervision until 2004, the label signed alternative acts including Sum 41 and Andrew WK.
He is survived by his wife, Atlantic Music Group CEO and Chairwoman Julie Greenwald, and their two children.
Largent’s successor to 120 Minutes, Matt Pinfield, said in a tribute on Twitter that he was “completely gutted” about the news. “I loved Lewis very much. I am at a loss for words.”
Lewis Largent, Influential MTV ‘120 Minutes’ VJ and KROQ DJ, Dies at 58 https://t.co/7mWzJ7MtWe via @variety I am completely gutted. I loved Lewis very much. I am at a loss for words.
— Matt Pinfield (@mattpinfield) March 10, 2023
Fellow MTV personality John Norris, who was a correspondent at MTV News in the same era, wrote: “Not gonna lie, I always wished that I was as cool as Lewis and he could not have been more chill and humble and kind.”
Elsewhere, SiriusXM host and Largent’s KROQ colleague Doug “Sluggo” Roberts recalled being welcomed by “TheLewMonkey” when he first joined the team and credited one of the radio station’s “coolest phases…in big part to him”.
You can watch some more clips from Largent’s tenure on 120 Minutes along with further tributes below.
How tragic. Not gonna lie, I always wished that I was as cool as Lewis and he could not have been more chill and humble and kind.
RIP friend. My thoughts are with Julie and his family and loved ones.💔
Lewis Largent, MTV ‘120 Minutes’ VJ and KROQ DJ https://t.co/9zhc1cfbl4
— John Norris (@Jonnynono) March 10, 2023
It’s heartbreaking to think we’ve lost Lewis Largent. The LewMonkey, as I called him, couldn’t have been more welcoming when I first joined KROQ at one of its coolest phases (thanks in big part to him) and he quickly became a good friend. RIP my brother! https://t.co/I1tJz58TD5
— Doug Sluggo Roberts (@SluggoDoug) March 10, 2023
Sad to see Lewis Largent died. As a devoted viewer of MTV's '120 Minutes,' he was a familiar face and presence every week. https://t.co/4N96xq0yZ1
— Annie Zaleski (@anniezaleski) March 10, 2023
Hanging out in businesses notoriously ran by assholes #lewislargent was a fucking gentleman and an all around good dude with platinum ears. #riplewislargent #lewmonkey
— Stephanie Bell (@djstephaniebell) March 11, 2023
Lewis Largent helped bring us to Island records way back when and we thought the world of the guy. This is a sad one. https://t.co/D1XPWo2CEQ
— thursdayband (@thursdayband) March 10, 2023
RIP Lewis Largent. Thanks for those 120 Minutes. 🎵📺 pic.twitter.com/VLxPYMcPiU
— Marc Munguia (@marcmunguia) March 11, 2023
RIP Lewis Largent. You were a real one, and a hero to music dorks everywhere.https://t.co/L5O4t6be7V
— Michael Tedder (@mtedder) March 10, 2023