Hollywood Talent Agency's Trip To The Top

08/03/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Michael Cieply New York Times

ONCE upon a time in Hollywood, a band of rebels left a lumbering old talent agency to start a hot little company of their own -- and in a dozen years or so managed to reach the top of the heap.

Twice upon a time, actually.

Just as Michael S. Ovitz and his peers walked away from the William Morris Agency to found Creative Artists Agency more than 30 years ago, Ariel Z. Emanuel and three associates left International Creative Management in 1995 to found Endeavor.

Creative Artists, under Mr. Ovitz and the people who succeeded him after he left in the mid-'90s, has long been the talent industry's leader, staking its claim as a voracious (and, some detractors said during the Ovitz years, sometimes thuggish) conglomerate that changed the way talent is bought and sold here.

Along the way, Endeavor became Creative Artists' doppelgänger. With only a third as many agents and a much smaller client list, the junior agency is known for the sort of quick thinking, ferocity and barely bridled ambition that carried Creative Artists to the top.

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