|University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), BA||1968|
|School of Film and Television|
Michael S. Ovitz is a Hollywood mogul and former talent agent who co-founded Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in 1975 and served as its chairman until 1995; Mr. Ovitz also served as President of the Walt Disney Company, from October 1995 to January 1997.
Over the past forty years, Michael Ovitz has been involved in a wide variety of activities in the worlds of entertainment, advertising, finance, business and philanthropy. He began his entertainment career prior to graduating from UCLA, as a tour guide at Universal Studios. He later started in the mailroom of the William Morris Agency, soon became a highly successful TV agent there before leaving with four colleagues to found CAA.
Ovitz co-founded Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in 1974 and served as its Chairman until 1995. Over that 20-year period, he grew the agency from a start-up organization to the world’s leading talent agency, representing more than 1,000 of the most notable actors, directors, musicians, screenwriters and other personalities in the entertainment industry. While at CAA, Mr. Ovitz was known for assembling “package deals”, wherein CAA would utilize its talent base to provide directors, actors and screenwriters to a studio, thus shifting the negotiating leverage from the studios to the talent.
Ovitz expanded the purview of the agency by moving into such activities as corporate consulting, investment banking and advertising. He helped negotiate such transactions as Matsushita’s acquisition of MCA/Universal, the financial rescue of MGM/United Artists, and Sony’s acquisition of Columbia Pictures. He shook up the advertising industry by winning Coca-Cola’s global advertising account in 1991. Mr. Ovitz also served as President of the Walt Disney Company, from October 1995 to January 1997.
In January of 1999, he launched a related family of talent management, motion picture and television production companies. Since selling those companies in 2002, he has remained involved in a limited number of film and videogame projects, while devoting the bulk of his time to investing in startup technology and media companies, real estate and other ventures.
Ovitz has also served as a member of the Board of Directors for J. Crew Group Inc., Gulfstream Aviation and Opsware. He served as Chairman of the Executive Board of the UCLA Hospital and Medical Center and headed up the Capital Campaign to raise money for their new hospital, designed by I.M. Pei. He also served on the Executive Advisory Board of the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, the Board of Directors of D.A.R.E. America, and the National Board of Advisors for the Children’s Scholarship Fund. He is currently involved in numerous cultural and charitable activities He currently sits on the Board of Directors of both IMG (International Management Group) and the Museum of Modern Art. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is on the Board of Advisors of Andreessen Horowitz.
Most recently, he has successfully launched a new Venture Capital Fund, Broad Beach Ventures, where he is among a select group of angel investors.
Marc Andreessen Interviews Michael OvitzAdded: 5/22/12
Charlie Rose Interviews Michael OvitzAdded: 5/22/12