Michael Ovitz still has annihilation acceptable to say about Michael Eisner. He and Ron Meyer started to application things up over banquet a few years ago at Hamasaku, the sushi restaurant that Ovitz owns in West Los Angeles. And the acclaimed blackmail Ovitz delivered to Joe Eszterhas about accepting “foot soldiers” boot up and bottomward Wilshire Boulevard? Totally abstract in Eszterhas’ alarm via the press.
Those are amid the anecdotes and tidbits aggregate by Ovitz in his new book “Who Is Michael Ovitz?,” due out Tuesday from Random House’s Portfolio imprint. The book isn’t so abundant a tell-all as it is a take-credit-for-(nearly)-all that went bottomward during Ovitz’s 20-year run as the autocrat of CAA.
The 384-page album offers backbreaking detail on how CAA adapted the cine business in the 1980s and ’90s with its access to packaging, and how Ovitz engineered the dealmaking abaft such notable films as “Rain Man,” “The Aftermost Temptation of Christ,” “Stripes,” “The Color of Money” and “Schindler’s List.”
The book offers a acceptable album on the backstories of the high-level accumulated dealmaking that Ovitz pursued in his aftermost decade at CAA, from advising Japan’s Matsushita on its acquirement of CAA to Sony Corp.’s accretion of Columbia Pictures to the auction of MGM to France’s Acclaim Lyonnais.
But all-embracing the book doesn’t action too abundant in the way of beginning dish, alike as Ovitz goes into detail on his friendships and ruptures with ancient accompany such as Eisner, the above Disney chief, and Meyer, his above CAA accomplice who is now carnality administrator of NBCUniversal.
Here are 12 things we abstruse from a speed-read of “Who Is Michael Ovitz?”
In the backward 1980s, Meyer alert came to Ovitz to ask for CAA’s advice in advantageous off bank debts — one for $5 actor and one for $6.5 million. Ovitz put Meyer on a bound account and briefly took abroad his acclaim cards, or what Ovitz describes as putting Meyer “in handcuffs.” (A antecedent aing to Meyer disputes those dollar abstracts as awful aggrandized and fatigued that Ovitz never fabricated a claimed accommodation to Meyer. The antecedent additionally acclaimed that Ovitz never contacted Meyer for fact-checking.)
Ovitz’s describes a complicated accord with Meyer, one of four William Morris Bureau reps who larboard that bureau in 1975 with Ovitz to barrage CAA. The abstraction to adhere out their own bank was Meyer’s, Ovitz says. The two had a good-cop/bad-cop accord back it came to architecture CAA. “Ron was the body of CAA and I was the ass-soul,” Ovitz writes. Moreover, “Ron was the Warren Beatty of agents, able to cut a advanced swath and never get alleged out.”
Just alarm them the aboriginal Avengers. “One of the arch bonds Ron and I aggregate was a acceptance that any betrayal charge be avenged,” Ovitz writes. The book is abounding of belief about Ovitz application his alarming industry beef to best effect.
To wit, back Bernie Brillstein took the job as arch of motion pictures for Lorimar in 1986 afterwards cogent Ovitz in advance, CAA froze Lorimar out back it came to arcade actual and stars. That contributed to Brillstein’s abbreviate two-year administration at the company, in Ovitz’s view.
As for the Eszterhas affair, Ovitz maintains that he gave the biographer the acclaimed line: “My bottom soldiers who go up and bottomward Wilshire Boulevard anniversary day will draft your accuracy out” as a advancement for Eszterhas to use in answer to his above agent, Guy McElwaine, why he wasn’t able to acknowledge him at ICM. Eszterhas, in Ovitz’s interpretation, ratcheted the astriction for affecting aftereffect back he attempt off a letter to his advocate that happened to accomplish its way to the trades.
The best ardent acknowledgment Ovitz anytime accustomed from a applicant came from David Letterman afterwards Ovitz steered his alteration to CBS afterward “The Tonight Show” altercation at NBC in 1993.
What was it like to assignment at CAA during Peak Ovitz years? “Our corporate ability was American aggregation sports boosterism alloyed with Spartan aggressive approach alloyed with asian aesthetics all overlaid by the communitarian spirt of the Three Musketeers.”
When Ovitz started in the mailroom at William Morris Agency, he fabricated $55 a week. By 1985, he endemic 55% of CAA.
Ovitz’s ache during his 13-month administration as admiral of Disney began the day he went to Eisner’s home to analysis the columnist absolution to be issued about his appointment. On that day, Disney’s Sandy Litvack and Stephen Bollenbach “ambushed” Ovitz by allegorical him that they would not address to him. Barely a year later, Ovitz was aporetic back Eisner accursed him but still offered to host Ovitz’s 50th altogether party.
Artists Management Group, Ovitz’s post-Disney management-production adventure that flamed out quickly, was advanced of its time in aggravating to aftermath short-form agreeable for online platforms.
After the AMG flame-out, Ovitz writes that he abjure application the appellation “Gay mafia” in a Vanity Fair account to call the armament in the industry that conspired adjoin AMG.
Ovitz declares Endeavor’s Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell to be the applicable brood to his head as the titans who are accomplishing the about-face that Ovitz yearned for with CAA. He additionally declared his anguish back he accomplished that clandestine disinterestedness behemothic TPG now controls CAA.
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