EXCLUSIVE: Nicole David, a stalwart talent agent for Triad and WMA, is leaving WME. She is not retiring, but hasn’t yet figured out if she will resurface as an agent or a manager, or a producer for that matter. David has been an important figure for women in the industry, rising to prominence at a time when there weren’t that many in top jobs. David and Arnold Rifkin formed Rifkin/David in 1982, and a decade later sold that agency for upwards of $25 million to WMA. She has been at that agency ever since, continuing after its merger with Endeavor. In that time, she helped build the movie careers of talent that included the late Patrick Swayze and Whitney Houston, and her current list includes: Alicia Keys, Elijah Wood, Emma Thompson, Jaden Smith, Julia Andrews, Linda Hunt, Melanie Griffith, Rihanna and Willow Smith.
David started her career in acting and is still a member of The Actors Studio. She also voiced the role of the bespectacled sleuth Velma in the animated Hanna-Barbera series Scooby-Doo. She has also helped launch a lot of careers, giving early jobs to an impressive list of women that includes Stacey Snider, Hylda Queally, Michelle Bohan, Carla Hacken, Tracey Jacobs and Ilene Feldman, to name a few.
David today told the WME staff that she would be leaving, and she will take … Read More »
Phil Kellogg passed away Sunday, just a month shy of his 100th birthday. Kellogg worked at WMA from 1950 to 1978, joining when Berg, Allenberg was acquired by WMA. Kellogg became head of the Picture Department in 1958 after Bert Allenberg passed away, and my, what a client list Kellogg had. He repped David Lean, Fred Zinneman, Deborah Kerr, David Niven, Robert Taylor, Jean Simmons, Stewart Granger, Robert Ryan, Richard Brooks and a host of others.
Owen Laster, the former head of the William Morris Agency’s worldwide literary division who spent his entire career at that agency until he retired in 2006, has died of cancer. He was 72. Laster was a classy dealmaker and represented the likes of James Michener, Ralph Ellison, Edward Albee and Gore Vidal. He was a key player on the New York literary scene for decades and made many big deals in an understated manner. Here is his obit from The New York Times.
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 »
I’m told Jackie Chan fired CAA on the day his new movie The Forbidden Kingdom opened #1 last Friday. Today he landed with the William Morris Agency’s Phillip Button. As for the There Will Be Blood director, Paul Thomas Anderson left Endeavor yesterday and landed tonight at WMA with Mike Simpson and John Fogelman.
The so-called “SPAC”, raising $500 million in financing on the American Stock Exchange for acquisitions in the entertainment/media/publishing arenas, is a Special Purpose Acquisition Corporation formed under Delaware’s liberal corporate laws on October 24, 2007 and filed with the SEC. (SPACs are investment vehicles with a whole host of SEC requirements attached to them. They’re blank-check companies that have no operations but that go public with the intention of merging with or acquiring a company with the proceeds of an IPO.) Interestingly, some weeks ago, a spokesman for the William Morris Agency denied to me the tenpercentery was involved. When I said today I had the SEC paperwork in hand, the mouthpiece did an about-face and told me, “We’re not allowed to talk about it. We’re under a quiet period with the SEC.”
SPACs have all sorts of rules about targets and time periods, so this SPAC has to move pretty fast. But rival tenpercenteries are pointing out to me all the potential hazard for conflicts of interest — whether WMA is an actual financial partner and/or bringing in potential investors and/or ID’ing merger or acquisition targets. So what’s behind this? Here’s a clue: Jim Wiatt, since becoming the agency’s largest shareholder, has increasingly referred to Morris as an entertainment company rather than a personal representation business, something at odds with what many on the agency’s board believe. (The agency has been suffering some client … Read More »
David E. Kelley left WMA this week for Endeavor. Topher Grace exited Morris also for Endeavor recently. Comedy feature writer Ed Solomon recently departed Morris to go to CAA (as did WMA’s director Jim Mangold three months ago…).