After decades of near silence in the face of relentless controversy, Ovitz finally tells his whole story in this memoir, with remarkable candor and insight. If you’re going to read just one book about how show business really works, this is the one.
As Michael Ovitz reached his breaking point at the all-powerful talent agency C.A.A., which he had run like a warlord since cofounding it in 1975, he did the unthinkable: He insulted a superstar. It was 1995. Barbra Streisand was on the phone, complaining at length about sexism and unequal pay for women in Hollywood, when Ovitz blew a fuse. 'Barbra,' he said, 'you know my 15-year-old son? All he and his friends think about is girls, but you’re no longer on their list.' ... Ovitz is in his 70s, and claims that he’s trying to make peace with his rivals and amends for his terrible reputation. He’s written this book hoping to accomplish that, but the memoir defines him better than he might like. Who is Michael Ovitz? A killer turned would-be sage. A visionary who won’t look inward. A guy who can’t get over who he used to be.
Few careers in the entertainment business have been as tumultuous as that of former Hollywood super agent Michael Ovitz. After co-founding Creative Artists Agency in 1975, a powerhouse that represented the likes of Robert De Niro, Bill Murray and Paul Newman, Mr. Ovitz built a reputation as one of the most powerful and ruthless men in Hollywood. He left CAA in 1995 to join Disney , expecting one day to run the company. Instead he was fired 14 months later. Industry executives excoriated him in the press. 'He created a lot of enemies,' a 'Hollywood power' told Fortune ... More than two decades after his ouster, Mr. Ovitz, now 71, is telling his story in a new memoir, 'Who is Michael Ovitz?'.
Michael Ovitz answers these questions [about his celebrity clients] and more with flair and no false modesty ... this book is delicious, and, yes, a bit malicious, as it settles scores. The writing engages and amuses throughout, even the sideswipes.