Endeavor Talent Agency
|Industry||Talent and Literary Agencies|
|Successors||William Morris Endeavor|
|Founded||1995 (in Beverly Hills)|
|Key people||Ari Emanuel
The Endeavor Talent Agency was a Beverly Hills-based talent agency founded by Ari Emanuel, Rick Rosen, Tom Strickler, and David Greenblatt. It was launched in March 1995 and went on to represent a wide variety of acclaimed film and television stars. In April 2009, Emanuel and Endeavor executive Patrick Whitesell orchestrated a merger with The William Morris Agency, resulting in William Morris Endeavor.
The roots of Endeavor can be traced to the ICM Agency, where founders Emanuel, Rosen, Strickler, and Greenblatt were all top television agents. In early 1995, they formed a plan to start their own agency, which was ultimately discovered by ICM Chairman Jeff Berg.
On March 29, the four agents were fired from ICM and immediately formed Endeavor. The agency began operations on March 30, working mainly with television clients from an office above the former Islands Restaurant in South Beverly Hills. Co-founder Ari Emanuel and the Endeavor Agency were the basis for the character Ari Gold, and his Miller Gold Agency, on HBO's Entourage.
1996-2003: Expansion / Whitesell Joins
In 1996, Endeavor moved to a new high-rise building at 9601 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Three new partners from CAA quickly joined the company: David Lonner, Doug Robinson, and Adam Venit. Lonner's clientele included the feature directors that Endeavor needed to solidify its standing as a full service agency. Robinson and Venit were the first actors' agents and had a client list that included Hank Azaria, Adam Sandler, and David Spade (all of whom are now represented by WME).
The Endeavor talent department grew dramatically during the next eight years, mainly with the 2001 addition of former CAA talent head, Patrick Whitesell. Whitesell led the development of the agency's list of feature film headliners, with a talent pool that included Ben Affleck, Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Hugh Jackman, and Jude Law. The group also signed several comedy stars during that period, including Sacha Baron Cohen, Kevin James, and Charlie Sheen.
2003-2009: Continued Growth
By 2003, Endeavor had become one of the industry's fastest-growing talent agencies. In June of that year, they relocated to 9601 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, which is now the current headquarters of WME. The Wilshire office was designed by UCLA professor and architect Neil Denari with wall graphics by 2x4 of New York. For this project, NMDA Inc., the company of Neil Denari, and associate architect Interior Architects received the 2007 Institute Honor Award for Interior Architecture from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
In 2006, agent Nancy Josephson left ICM after the company went through an ownership change. Endeavor quickly brought in Josephson and her clients – Friends creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane, Craig Ferguson, Tyra Banks, and director David Frankel. Soon after, ICM agents Matt Solo and Robert Newman joined as well. Solo's roster included The Shield creator Shawn Ryan, while Newman's brought esteemed film directors Guillermo Del Toro, Baz Luhrman, Danny Boyle and Robert Rodriguez.
2008 brought four key additions from UTA, including talent agents Sharon Jackson and Nick Stevens. Their clients, Will Arnett, Jack Black, Jonah Hill, Amy Poehler, and Ben Stiller, bolstered the agency's comedy department.
2009 Merger With William Morris Agency
In 2008, Emanuel and Whitesell began preliminary discussions with the William Morris Agency about a company merger. By April 2009, the announcement was made and William Morris Endeavor was formed. WMA ultimately relocated to Endeavor's Beverly Hills office and Emanuel and Whitesell retained the titles of Co-CEOs. Their successful partnership ultimately led Fortune to name Emanuel and Whitesell on their 2010 "Businessperson of the Year" list.
- "It's A Takeover, Not A Merger". LA Weekly. May 28, 2009.
- Galloway, Stephen (2013-03-05). "Jeff Berg Speaks: Plans for New Agency, What Really Happened at ICM (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
- "Real-life Ari admits: I thought ‘Entourage’ would be a loser". The Daily. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- Brodesser, Claude (2001-02-25). "CAA’s Whitesell eyes a new Endeavor". Variety.
- Neil M. Denari Architects Official site
- Matt Tinder, 2007 "AIA Honor Awards Recognize Excellence in Architecture, Interiors, and Urban Design". American Institute of Architects.
- 2007 Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture" (PDF format; requires Adobe Reader). American Institute of Architects. Endeavor Agency
- Endeavor Screening Room at NMDA, Official site
- Cieply, Michael. "Agents Replaying a Hollywood Drama". The New York Times.
- Finke, Nikki (2009-04-27). "Latest WMA-Endeavor Merger Update: Hollywood History In The Making Today: Endeavor And William Morris Vote Yes". Deadline.
- Finke, Nikki (2009-10-09). "WME Will Stay In Endeavor Headquarters Instead Of Moving To New Morris Building". Deadline.
- P.N. (November 19, 2010). "Businessperson of the Year". Fortune. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
- Rensin, David. The Mailroom: Hollywood History from the Bottom Up. ISBN 978-0345442345.