Ari Emanuel

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Ari Emanuel
Born March 29, 1961 (1961-03-29) (age 58)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation CEO, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment
Talent agent
Spouse Sarah Addington

Ariel "Ari" Z. Emanuel is a prominent talent agent and founder of the Endeavor Agency in Beverly Hills, California. He represents Martin Scorsese, Jennifer Garner, Reese Witherspoon, Larry David, Michael Moore, Jude Law, Matt Damon, Vin Diesel, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Mark Wahlberg, among others. His stature in the industry has prompted various homages and parodies over the years, including Bob Odenkirk's character, Stevie Grant, on The Larry Sanders Show,[1] and Ari Gold, played by Jeremy Piven on the HBO television show Entourage.[2]


Raised in suburban Wilmette, Illinois, outside Chicago, Emanuel is the brother of U.S. Congressman and White House Chief of Staff-designate 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, a Zionist paramilitary organization. His mother, Martha Emanuel (née Smulevitz), was a civil rights activist, and the one-time owner of a Chicago-area rock and roll club.[3] As a child, Ari was diagnosed as both hyperactive and dyslexic, and his mother spent hours helping him to learn to read.[3] 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. He is married to Sarah Addington.[3]

Professional career

After graduation from 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).[3] Emanuel and three other agents devised a plan to leave ICM and start a boutique agency of their own. In March 1995, after an assistant was caught removing files after hours, Emanuel was fired by Jeff Berg. He went on to co-found Endeavor Agency.[3]

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.”[4] At the time, Gibson was represented by rival talent agency ICM. Gavin de Becker responded with a two-page open letter to Emanuel in the Hollywood Reporter.[5]

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.[6] 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?”[7] Emanuel later helped Albrecht land his next job at IMG.[8]

Ari Emanuel has hosted fundraisers for the Democratic Party.


An April 2002 lawsuit by agent Sandra Epstein against Endeavor Agency brought accusations by Epstein and other Endeavor employees against Emanuel.[9] In the court filings, Emanuel is alleged to have allowed a friend to operate a pornographic website out of Endeavor’s offices.[9] 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."[9] Emanuel disputed these accusations at the time. Epstein’s claims were settled for $2.25 million.[9]


  1. interview from Not Just the Best of The Larry Sanders Show DVD
  2. Horn, John. "A Green Light for 'Aqua'?". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2006-07-28.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Elisabeth Bumiller (1997-06-15). "The Brothers Emanuel". New York Times.  Retrieved on Feb. 12, 2007
  4. [1] “The Bottom Line on Mel Gibson's Anti-Semitic Remarks” by Ari Emanuel, July 30, 2006
  5. [2] “Gavin de Becker Gives Ari Emanuel the Gift of Rhetorical Whoop-ass” August 4, 2006
  6. [3] Ari Emanuel Defends Fired Chris Albrecht
  7. [4] “In Defense of Chris Albrecht” by Ari Emanuel, May 10, 2007
  8. [5] Is Endeavor Playing Into IMG's Hands?
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Michael Cieply (July 27, 2008). "Agents Replaying a Hollywood Drama". New York Times. Retrieved on July 27, 2008

External links

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