Ariel Zev Emanuel
March 29, 1961
|Spouse(s)||Sarah Hardwick Addington (divorce 2018)|
Ari Emanuel (born March 29, 1961) is an American businessman and the CEO of Endeavor, an entertainment and media agency. He was a founding partner of the Endeavor Talent Agency and was instrumental in shaping its June 2009 merger with the William Morris Agency.
Born to a Jewish family in Chicago, Emanuel was raised in suburban Wilmette, Illinois. Emanuel is the brother of former Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel, American oncologist and bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel, and adopted sister Shoshana Emanuel. His father, Jerusalem-born Dr. Benjamin M. Emanuel, is a pediatrician who was active in the Irgun, a hardline Zionist militant group that operated in Mandatory Palestine during the 1930s and 1940s His mother, Marsha Emanuel (née Smulevitz), was a civil rights activist, and the one-time owner of a Chicago-area rock and roll club. During his third grade at school, Ari was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. In addition to school, his mother spent many hours helping him to learn to read. She hired tutors and private instructors to give him private reading lessons at home. Emanuel attended high school at New Trier High School, and in 1983 graduated from Macalester College in St Paul, Minnesota, where he was roommates with director Peter Berg.
In 1996, Emanuel married girlfriend Sarah Hardwick Addington; they have three sons. After 20 years of marriage, Emanuel filed for divorce at Los Angeles County Court, citing "irreconcilable differences".
In 1987, Emanuel moved to L.A. and began his career in the entertainment industry where he completed a mailroom training program at the Creative Artists Agency (CAA), in his first role within an agency.
Prior to founding Endeavor, Emanuel was a partner at InterTalent and senior agent at ICM Partners (ICM).
Emanuel has been described as a mogul and power player in Hollywood. Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, the co-CEO of WME, have both been named to Fortune's Businessperson of the Year list. In a May 2013 article on Emanuel, Fortune called him "one of the biggest guns in the consolidating entertainment business".
Emanuel's relationships with his clients, coupled with his stature in the industry, has led to various homages and parodies over the years, including Bob Odenkirk's character Stevie Grant on The Larry Sanders Show, and Ari Gold, played by Jeremy Piven on the HBO television show Entourage. In 2011, Emanuel co-founded TheAudience with Sean Parker and Oliver Luckett.
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."
During the 2016 Presidential primaries Emanuel offered to produce a movie for his former client Donald Trump which was considered for the 2016 Republican National Convention but ultimately was not followed through on.
After disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi on 2 October 2018 and reports that the Saudi hit squad had assassinated him inside their consulate in Turkey Emanuel called White House senior adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. Emanuel tried to extricate Endeavor from a $400 million deal with the repressive regime in Saudi Arabia.
An April 2002 lawsuit by agent Sandra Epstein against Endeavor Agency brought forth accusations by Epstein and other Endeavor employees against Emanuel. In the court filings, Emanuel is alleged to have allowed a friend to operate a pornographic website out of Endeavor's offices. 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." Emanuel disputed these accusations at the time. Epstein's claims were settled for $2.25 million.
Emanuel has in the past been active on the board of trustees of P.S. Arts, a Los Angeles, California-based nonprofit organization that works to bring art education programs to Southern California schools. He has also helped the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, establish MOCAtv, a dedicated YouTube art channel. In 2012, he joined the museum's board.
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- Emanuel, Ari (2006-07-30). "The Bottom Line on Mel Gibson's Anti-Semitic Remarks". The Huffington Post.
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- Suebsaeng, Maxwell Tani,Asawin (2018-10-16). "'Pissed' Ari Emanuel Called Jared Kushner to Vent About Saudi Khashoggi Fiasco". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2021-03-11.
- "Endeavor Pulling Out of $400 Million Saudi Arabia Deal (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 2018-10-15. Retrieved 2021-03-11.
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- Randy Kennedy (October 3, 2012), Ari Emanuel Joins Board of Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles The New York Times. 2012/10/03