Ari Emanuel (born March 29, 1961) is an American talent agent and the co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor (WME), an entertainment and media agency. He was a founding partner of the Endeavor Talent Agency and was instrumental in shaping its June 2009 merger with the William Morris Agency.
Ariel Zev Emanuel|
March 29, 1961
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Alma mater||Macalester College (BA)|
Chief Executive of William Morris Endeavor|
Owner of Ultimate Fighting Championship
|Spouse(s)||Sarah Hardwick Addington|
Born to a Jewish family in Chicago, Emanuel was raised in suburban Wilmette, Illinois. Emanuel is the brother of former White House Chief of Staff and current Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel, National Institutes of Health bioethicist Ezekiel J. Emanuel, and adopted sister Shoshana Emanuel. His father, Jerusalem-born Dr. Benjamin M. Emanuel, is a pediatrician who was active in the Irgun, a hardline Zionist militant group whose activities in Mandatory Palestine during the 1930s and 1940s led to its listing as a terrorist organization by the British authorities, the Jewish Agency and the 1946 Zionist Congress. His mother, Marsha Emanuel (née Smulevitz), was a civil rights activist, and the one-time owner of a Chicago-area rock and roll club. As a child, Ari was diagnosed as both hyperactive and dyslexic, and his mother spent many hours helping him to learn to read. He is a graduate of New Trier High School and of Macalester College in St Paul, Minnesota, where he was roommates with director Peter Berg.
Prior to founding Endeavor, Emanuel was a partner at InterTalent and senior agent at ICM Partners (ICM). He began his entertainment industry career as an agent trainee at Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
Emanuel has been described as a "21st century Hollywood mogul" and “the pre-eminent power player” in Hollywood. Emanuel and WME co-CEO Patrick Whitesell have been characterized as "rewriting the Hollywood script", and they have both been named to Fortune's Businessperson of the Year list. In a May 2013 article on Emanuel, Fortune called him "one of the biggest guns in the consolidating entertainment business".
Emanuel's relationships 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, and Ari Gold, played by Jeremy Piven on the HBO television show Entourage. In 2011, Emanuel co-founded TheAudience with Sean Parker and Oliver Luckett.
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."
During the 2016 Presidential primaries Emanuel offered to produce a movie for his former client, now President, Donald Trump which was considered for the 2016 Republican National Convention but ultimately was not followed through on.
Although Emanuel donated $2,700 to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, he is a long-standing friend of Donald Trump and called Trump's election "the victory of will," a phrase evoking the title of Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will (1935), a Nazi-era propaganda film. Upon Trump's appointment of Steve Bannon as chief White House strategist and senior counselor, Emanuel said Bannon would be in "the best possible position" to influence policy.
An April 2002 lawsuit by agent Sandra Epstein against Endeavor Agency brought forth accusations by Epstein and other Endeavor employees against Emanuel. In the court filings, Emanuel is alleged to have allowed a friend to operate a pornographic website out of Endeavor's offices.
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." Emanuel disputed these accusations at the time. Epstein's claims were settled for $2.25 million.
In March 2013, it was revealed that Emanuel was unhappy with an interview of him and his two brothers conducted by NBC anchor Brian Williams. According to the New York Post, Emanuel was not pleased with the "aggressive" tone of the interview and believed that "something was just off", according to a source. Emanuel's lawyer sent a letter to NBC over the perceived issue.
Emanuel has in the past been active on the board of trustees of P.S. Arts, a Los Angeles, California-based nonprofit organization that works to bring art education programs to Southern California schools. He has also helped the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, establish MOCAtv, a dedicated YouTube art channel. In 2012, he joined the museum's board.
- Littleton, Cynthia (2009-04-27). "WMA, Endeavor approve merger". Variety.
- The Jewish Daily Forward: "Pope Francis Invites Hollywood biggest jews to Vatican" by Rachel X. Landes August 6, 2015
- "Profile: Rahm Emanuel". BBC News. 2008-11-07. Retrieved 2009-08-18.
- "Jewish Terrorism and Jewish Resistance". The Jewish Plan for Palestine—Memoranda and Statements presented by The Jewish Agency for Palestine to the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine. The Jewish Agency for Palestine, Jerusalem. 1947. pp. 20–26.
- "Major Political Developments". The Jewish Plan for Palestine—Memoranda and Statements presented by The Jewish Agency for Palestine to the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine. The Jewish Agency for Palestine, Jerusalem. 1947. p. 32.
- Bumiller, Elisabeth (1997-06-15). "The Brothers Emanuel". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-18.
- Gateway families: ancestors and descendants of Richard Simrall Hawes III and Marie Christy Johnson, by Christy Hawes Bond, Alicia Crane Williams, C. Hawes Bond, 1994, p. 527
- "Ari Emanuel: 21st century Hollywood mogul". London: The Independent. July 15, 2009. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
- Cieply, Michael (June 10, 2009). "Mogul Ascends With Old Hollywood Clout". The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
- Garrahan, Matthew (December 6, 2011). "Rewriting the Hollywood script". Financial Times. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
- P.N. (November 19, 2010). "Businessperson of the Year". Fortune. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
- Lashinsky, Adam (May 23, 2013). "Hi, It's Ari @#$%ing Emanuel, and I plan to shake up Hollywood". Fortune. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
- Horn, John (2006-06-28). "A Green Light for 'Aqua'?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-08-18.
- Emanuel, Ari (2006-07-30). "The Bottom Line on Mel Gibson's Anti-Semitic Remarks". The Huffington Post.
- "Nicole Kidman and 84 Others Stand United Against Terrorism" Archived September 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.. Hollywood Grind. August 18, 2006.
- Berrin, Danielle (November 6, 2008). "Rahm Emanuel's brother, Ari Emanuel, is a Hollywood superagent". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.
- Messer, Lesley (November 21, 2016). "Donald Trump Meets With Ari Emanuel: Inside Their Long-Standing Relationship". ABC.
- Cite error: The named reference
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- The Editorial Board (November 15, 2016). "Steve 'Turn On the Hate' Bannon, in the White House". The New York Times.
- Cieply, Michael (2008-07-27). "Agents Replaying a Hollywood Drama". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-18.
- "Ari rips NBC for 'Rock' chat". New York Post. March 24, 2013.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-03-26. Retrieved 2013-03-25.
- Randy Kennedy (October 3, 2012), Ari Emanuel Joins Board of Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles The New York Times. 2012/10/03