Ovitz began his career at the William Morris Agency, but left with four other agents in 1975 to found his own firm: Creative Artists Agency.
While at CAA, he was responsible for pioneering the practice of packaging writers, directors, and actors for motion pictures. This practice led to CAA and its clients holding significant negotiating leverage over the major studios.
Ovitz is also well-known for negotiating David Letterman's move from NBC to CBS, chronicled in the book The Late Shift: Letterman, Leno, and the Network Battle for the Night by Bill Carter, as well as for discovering the action star known as Steven Seagal.
In 1995, he resigned from CAA to become president of the Walt Disney Company under chairman Michael Eisner. Fourteen months after taking office, he was dismissed by Disney's board of directors and received a $140 million severance package. This setback, along with the failure of his subsequent venture, the Artists Management Group, led him to claim that his downfall had been engineered by a Hollywood cabal he referred to as the gay mafia.
Today, Ovitz is a private investor who continues to informally advise the careers of luminaries such as Martin Scorsese, David Letterman and Tom Clancy. He is also a passionate basketball fan.
Michael Ovitz Facts
|Birthday||December 14, 1946 (74)|