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Ariel "Ari" Zev Emanuel (born March 29, 1961 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American talent agent, founder of the Endeavor Talent Agency in Beverly Hills, California, and now CEO of William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, Endeavor's successor by merger.[1] As of December 4, 2009, he was purportedly representing Martin Scorsese, Larry David, Michael Moore, Matt Damon, Sacha Baron Cohen, Conan O'Brien, and Mark Wahlberg, among others.[2] His special relationship with his clients coupled with his stature in the industry has led to various homages and parodies over the years, including Bob Odenkirk's character, Stevie Grant, on The Larry Sanders Show,[3] and Ari Gold, played by Jeremy Piven on the HBO television show Entourage.[4] He also currently serves on the board of Live Nation.[5]

Contents

Background

Raised in suburban Wilmette, Illinois, Emanuel is the brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, NIH bioethicist Ezekiel J. Emanuel, and adopted sister Shoshana Emanuel. His father, the Jerusalem-born Dr. Benjamin M. Emanuel is a pediatrician who was active in the Irgun (Hebrew: ארגון), a hardline group that fought for Israeli independence until 1948 and was branded as a terrorist organisation by the British colonial authorities.[6] His mother, Marsha Emanuel (née Smulevitz), was a civil rights activist, and the one-time owner of a Chicago-area rock and roll club.[7] As a child, Ari was diagnosed as both hyperactive and dyslexic, and his mother spent hours helping him to learn to read.[7] She also took him to anti-war protests. He is a graduate of New Trier West High School and of Macalester College in St Paul, Minnesota where he was roommates with director Peter Berg. He is married to Sarah Addington and they have three sons.[7]

Professional career

After graduation from Macalester College in 1983, Emanuel played professional racquetball, and lived for a time in Paris and New York City. Emanuel then worked at the Hollywood agencies Creative Artists Agency, Inter Talent, and International Creative Management (ICM).[7] By 1995, Emanuel had established himself as a senior agent at ICM but was abruptly fired that year when he and three other agents were caught sneaking files out of the company's offices in the middle of the night.[8] He went on to co-found Endeavor Talent Agency[7] with "his fellow late night vigilantes" [8], whom included Rick Rosen, Tom Strickler and David Greenblatt. In June 2009 Endeavor merged with the William Morris Agency' creating William Morris Endeavor Entertainment.

Public advocacy

Emanuel gained widespread media attention in July 2006 when he called on Hollywood to blacklist Mel Gibson because of Gibson’s anti-Semitic remarks during his DUI arrest. Emanuel wrote, “People in the entertainment community, whether Jew or Gentile, need to demonstrate that they understand how much is at stake in this by professionally shunning Mel Gibson and refusing to work with him, even if it means a sacrifice to their bottom line”.[9]

Emanuel's name was in an advertisement in the Los Angeles Times (17 August 2006) that condemned Hamas and Hezbollah and supported Israel in the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.[10]

In 2007, Emanuel publicly backed Chris Albrecht after Albrecht was fired from HBO for a domestic violence arrest, preceded by rumors of three earlier incidents of violence against women.[11] Emanuel wrote, "If Hollywood is going to give Mel Gibson a second chance, and sports fans are going to cheer on stars like Jason Kidd, Latrell Sprewell, and Stephen Jackson who have made similar mistakes, why not Chris Albrecht?"[12] Emanuel later helped Albrecht land his next job at IMG.[13]

Ari Emanuel has hosted fundraisers for the Democratic Party.[14]

Controversy

An April 2002 lawsuit by agent Sandra Epstein against Endeavor Agency brought accusations by Epstein and other Endeavor employees against Emanuel.[15] In the court filings, Emanuel is alleged to have allowed a friend to operate a pornographic website out of Endeavor’s offices.[15] According to Epstein, Emanuel made racist and anti-gay remarks and prevented her from sending a script about Navy SEALs to actor Wesley Snipes, saying, "That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Everyone knows that blacks don’t swim".[15] Emanuel disputed these accusations at the time. Epstein’s claims were settled for $2.25 million.[15]

In March 2010 Emanuel started lobbying for a controversial Three strikes law pertaining to internet usage and file sharing. Opponents of three-strikes laws say there are significant problems with the policy. For one, it would cut off Internet access to entire households, not just individuals accused of illegal file-sharing. For another, the law, as laid out in French legislation, does not require a court to rule on the denial of access -- the individual need only be accused three times.[16]

References

  1. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (2009-04-27). "WMA, Endeavor approve merger". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118002879. 
  2. ^ "Ari Emanuel: Main Details". http://www.pro.imdb.com/name/nm1198089. Retrieved 2009-12-04. 
  3. ^ Not Just the Best of The Larry Sanders Show, interview. [DVD]. 2007. 
  4. ^ Horn, John (2006-06-28). "A Green Light for 'Aqua'?". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2006/jul/28/entertainment/et-aquaman28. Retrieved 2009-08-18. 
  5. ^ "Live Nation Inc". http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/people/board.asp?ric=LYV. Retrieved 2009-12-04. 
  6. ^ "Profile: Rahm Emanuel". BBC News. 2008-11-07. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7702408.stm. Retrieved 2009-08-18. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Bumiller, Elisabeth (1997-06-15). "The Brothers Emanuel". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1997/07/06/magazine/l-the-brothers-emanuel-949744.html. Retrieved 2009-08-18. 
  8. ^ a b "ariemanuel.info: About". http://www.ariemanuel.net/index_002.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  9. ^ Emanuel, Ari (2006-07-30). "The Bottom Line on Mel Gibson's Anti-Semitic Remarks". The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ari-emanuel/the-bottom-line-on-mel-gi_b_26115.html. 
  10. ^ "Nicole Kidman and 84 Others Stand United Against Terrorism" Hollywood Grind. 18 August 2006.
  11. ^ Finke, Nikki (2007-05-10). "Ari Emanuel Defends Fired Chris Albrecht". Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily. http://www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com/ari-emanuel-defends-hkoed-chris-albrecht. 
  12. ^ Emanuel, Ari (2006-05-10). "In Defense of Chris Albrecht". The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ari-emanuel/in-defense-of-chris-albre_b_48140.html. 
  13. ^ Finke, Nikki (2007-09-18). "Is Endeavor Playing Into IMG's Hands?". Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily. http://www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com/is-aris-endeavor-playing-into-imgs-hands. 
  14. ^ http://www.jewishjournal.com/elections/article/rahm_emanuels_brother_ari_emanuel_is_a_hollywood_superagent_20081106/
  15. ^ a b c d Cieply, Michael (2008-07-27). "Agents Replaying a Hollywood Drama". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/27/business/media/27agent.html. Retrieved 2009-08-18. 
  16. ^ story, raw (2010-03-15). "Rahm Emanuel’s brother lobbies for ‘three strikes’ law against downloaders". http://rawstory.com/2010/03/emanuels-brother-three-strikes-law/. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 

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