4:20 PM UPDATE: I’ve just learned that WME Entertainment actually fired Mel Gibson the day before his longtime Hollywood agent Ed Limato’s death last weekend. I’m told what happened is that the news media reported last week there was a tape of Mel Gibson making a racial slur. And last Friday, WME board member Ari Emanuel “woke up at 3 AM and emailed his partner Patrick Whitesell that ‘we can’t represent a guy who said the N-word’.” So the agency dumped Mel Gibson on July 2nd, and the next day, on July 3rd, his agent Limato died. Today the 2-minute recording was released by the celebrity website RadarOnline.com which initially broke the news that on it Mel Gibson allegedly uses a racial epithet during a fight with Oksana Grigorieva, the mother of his child: “You’re an embarrassment to me. You look like a f***ing bitch in heat, and if you get raped by a pack of n***ers, it will be your fault.” Just now, the Drudge Report headlined both stories, “Mel In Hell”.
3 PM: “There is no way, with Ed Limato not here, that Mel Gibson would be a client of this company, ” an insider just told me. “I don’t think anybody’s surprised by this, given Ari’s history.” Of course that’s a reference to Ari Emanuel’s July 2006 appeal to Hollywood not to work with Gibson after … Read More »
PREVIOUS: R.I.P. Ed Limato
UPDATE: Ed Limato’s office has set funeral service plans. This Wednesday, an open viewing will be held from 3:30-8:30 PM at Forest Lawn Memorial Park. A memorial service is being planned.
Tributes to the late WME agent Ed Limato refer to his passing as the end of a dealmaking era. After writing about Ed for two decades, I’ve got my own theory on what made him different. Top talent agents who nowadays put movies together in a challenging marketplace are compelled to take a team approach. That places the interests of one actor among many considerations. With Ed, protecting the interests of an actor client was the beginning and the end of the conversation. I observed this up close when Ed made what would be his last film deal for Denzel Washington, to star in the 20th Century Fox drama Unstoppable. The back and forth between Ed and the studio was so rough that he ended negotiations. He confirmed my inquiry that it was over, and let me know that Washington would look for another movie to fill that slot. Rarely are agents so candid, but Ed was worked up. Fox and everyone associated with Unstoppable were angry about my article. They felt I imperiled a good film, and that I allowed myself to be manipulated to sway a negotiation. After all, Limato’s savvy new WME colleagues … Read More »
3RD UPDATE: Ed Limato’s clients weigh in on his passing:
Richard Gere: “Ed was my dear friend and agent for 40 years. He was the best of the best. There will never be anyone like him. The mold has been broken. He was probably the most respected agent of our time who loved his clients dearly and would do anything for them. “
Mel Gibson: “It’s said of agents ‘they have no hearts’. Ed was all heart!
He was there for me 30 years. I will miss him.”
Steve Martin: “Ed Limato not only represented important actors in Hollywood, but also represented class and kindness.”
Denzel Washington: “Ed was more than an agent. He was like a father to me and a dear friend to me and my entire family.”
2ND UPDATE (now completed): Ed Limato had been ill from lung disease and awaiting a lung transplant that never came. He arrived home from Cedars Sinai this week and fell into a coma. In recent days the icon who’d spent four decades in showbiz guiding the careers of some of its biggest stars was surrounded by everyone he loved: his clients and his friends and his colleagues. The untimely passing of this legendary talent agent at age 73 will cast a pall over Hollywood this holiday weekend. But his reputation as one of the greats will live on.
Most recently, Limato was a senior agent at WME Entertainment but he’d spent a lifetime moving between ICM and William Morris agencies. … Read More »