Lewis Largent, the influential MTV VJ who hosted 120 Minutes and former music director of Los Angeles radio station KROQ, has died, report Variety and theLos Angeles Times. His family confirmed the news to Variety, stating that Largent died on February 20 after a “long illness.” He was 58.
Raised in Southern California, Largent took up golfing as a teen and landed a job working at a country club. It was there that he coincidentally met the the general manager of KROQ and impressed him with his vast knowledge of alt-rock, so much so that he granted Largent an internship there in 1985. After quickly ascending the ranks, Largent became the alt-rock station’s Music Director by 1989.
In 1992, Largent accepted an offer at MTV to become a Vice President of Music Programming. He soon began hosting 120 Minutes, the channel’s Sunday night show focused on alternative music, where he interviewed icons of the era such as David Bowie, Radiohead, Pavement, Björk, Trent Reznor, Dinosaur Jr., and PJ Harvey. When Largent passed his hosting duties over to Matt Pinfield in 1995, he shifted his focus to behind the scenes, becoming the Director of Music Programming at MTV. Later on, he was promoted to Vice President of Music and Artist Development.
Eventually, Largent wanted to turn his attention towards more label-focused work. He left MTV in 1999 for a senior A&R position at Island Def Jam Records. He stayed at the label for five years, signing artists such as Sum 41 and Andrew WK, among others.
Most recently, Largent went back to college to get a BA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and later earned his MFA in 2015.