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Ari Emanuel

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Ari Emanuel
Emanuel in 2016
Ariel Zev Emanuel

1961 (age 62–63)[1]
EducationMacalester College (BA)
Years active2007–present
Political partyDemocratic
Sarah Hardwick Addington
(m. 1996; div. 2018)
(m. 2022)
RelativesRahm Emanuel (brother)
Ezekiel Emanuel (brother)

Ariel Zev Emanuel (born 1961) is an American businessman and the CEO of Endeavor, an entertainment and media agency that owns the UFC and WWE.[3] He was a founding partner of the Endeavor Talent Agency and was instrumental in shaping its June 2009 merger with the William Morris Agency.[4]

Early life[edit]

Ari (right) participating in a forum alongside his brother Rahm (left)

Born to a Jewish family,[5] Emanuel was raised in suburban Wilmette, Illinois. Emanuel is the brother of former mayor of Chicago, Presidential Chief of Staff and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel, American oncologist and bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel, and sister Shoshana Emanuel (who was adopted). His father, Jerusalem-born Benjamin M. Emanuel, was a pediatrician who was active in the Irgun, a Zionist paramilitary group, that operated in Mandatory Palestine during the 1930s and 1940s.[6][7] His mother, Marsha Emanuel (née Smulevitz), was a civil rights activist, and the one-time owner of a Chicago-area rock and roll club.[8] During his third grade at school, Ari was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia.[9] To supplement instruction at 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.[8][10]


Prior to founding Endeavor, Emanuel was a partner at InterTalent and senior agent at ICM Partners (ICM). Emanuel has served as a member of Live Nation Entertainment board of directors since September 2007.[11]

Emanuel has been described as a mogul and power player in Hollywood.[12][13] Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, the co-CEO of WME, have both been named to Fortune's Businessperson of the Year list.[14][15] In a May 2013 article on Emanuel, Fortune called him "one of the biggest guns in the consolidating entertainment business".[16]

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.[17] In 2011, Emanuel co-founded TheAudience with Sean Parker and Oliver Luckett.[18]

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."[19] Emanuel disputed these accusations at the time. Emanuel settled Epstein's claims for $2.25 million.[19]

Endeavor went public in 2021 with Emanuel owning a stake worth around $480 million according to Bloomberg.[20] He and Patrick Whitesell are also co-CEO of IMG, a global sports, events and talent management company headquartered in New York City.[21]

Public advocacy[edit]

Emanuel has hosted fundraisers for the Democratic Party.[22] He donated $2,700 to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 United States presidential election. His long-standing relationship with his former client Donald Trump is well documented.[23] During the 2016 Republican Party presidential primaries, Emanuel offered to produce a movie for Trump which was considered for the 2016 Republican National Convention but ultimately was not followed through on.[24]

After the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2, 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.[25] Emanuel tried to extricate Endeavor from a $400 million deal with the Saudi Arabian government.[26]

In October 2022, Emanuel urged several businesses to stop working with rapper Kanye West over his antisemitic comments.[27][28]

Emanuel was critical of Israeli prime minster Benjamin Netanyahu over his handling of the 2023–24 Israel–Hamas war, when he was awarded the Humanitarian Prize at Simon Wiesenthal Center's National Tribute Gala. Emanuel called for Netanyahu to step down during his speech, which caused a negative reaction from the audience.[29][30][31]

Art philanthropy[edit]

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 of trustees.[32]

Personal life[edit]

In 1996, Emanuel married girlfriend Sarah Hardwick Addington; they have three sons.[8][33] The couple divorced in 2018.[2] In May 2022, he married fashion designer Sarah Staudinger, founder of the Los Angeles label STAUD.[34]


  1. ^ "Emanuel, Ari 1961-". WorldCat Identifiers. Retrieved September 13, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Bruck, Connie (April 19, 2021). "Ari Emanuel Takes on the World". The New Yorker. Retrieved October 1, 2023. They were married in 1996, had three sons, and divorced in 2018.
  3. ^ Gift, Paul. "Endeavor CEO On Future UFC Rights Bidders: 'I'm Smiling'". Forbes. Retrieved July 20, 2022.
  4. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (April 27, 2009). "WMA, Endeavor approve merger". Variety.
  5. ^ The Jewish Daily Forward: "Pope Francis Invites Hollywood biggest jews to Vatican" by Rachel X. Landes August 6, 2015
  6. ^ "Profile: Rahm Emanuel". BBC News. November 7, 2008. Retrieved August 18, 2009.
  7. ^ "Major Political Developments". The Jewish Plan for Palestine—Memoranda and Statements presented by The Jewish Agency for Palestine to the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine. The Jewish Agency for Palestine, Jerusalem. 1947. p. 32.
  8. ^ a b c Bumiller, Elisabeth (June 15, 1997). "The Brothers Emanuel". The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2009.
  9. ^ "Ari Emanuel, Co-Chief Executive of William Morris Endeavor Entertainment". Yale Dyslexia. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
  10. ^ "Ari Emanuel". dyslexiahelp.umich.edu. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
  11. ^ "Leaders Archive". Live Nation Entertainment. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  12. ^ "Ari Emanuel: 21st century Hollywood mogul". The Independent. London. July 15, 2009. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
  13. ^ Cieply, Michael (June 10, 2009). "Mogul Ascends With Old Hollywood Clout". The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
  14. ^ Garrahan, Matthew (December 6, 2011). "Rewriting the Hollywood script". Financial Times. Archived from the original on December 11, 2022. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
  15. ^ P.N. (November 19, 2010). "Businessperson of the Year". Fortune. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
  16. ^ Lashinsky, Adam (May 23, 2013). "Hi, It's Ari @#$%ing Emanuel, and I plan to shake up Hollywood". Fortune. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  17. ^ Horn, John (June 28, 2006). "A Green Light for 'Aqua'?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 18, 2009.
  18. ^ "TheAudience: A Stealthy, Celeb-Driven Startup Co-founded By Sean Parker, Ari Emanuel & Oliver Luckett". TechCrunch. July 26, 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  19. ^ a b Cieply, Michael (July 27, 2008). "Agents Replaying a Hollywood Drama". The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2009.
  20. ^ "Hollywood Super-Agent Emanuel Cashes In With Endeavor Group IPO". Bloomberg.com. April 30, 2021. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  21. ^ "Ari Emanuel finally took Endeavor public. Now what?". Los Angeles Times. April 29, 2021. Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  22. ^ Berrin, Danielle (November 6, 2008). "Rahm Emanuel's brother, Ari Emanuel, is a Hollywood superagent". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.
  23. ^ Messer, Lesley (November 21, 2016). "Donald Trump Meets With Ari Emanuel: Inside Their Long-Standing Relationship". ABC.
  24. ^ "Ari Emanuel Will Not Produce Trump Convention Film". Fortune. May 1, 2016. Retrieved November 3, 2020.
  25. ^ Tani, Maxwell; Suebsaeng, Asawin (October 16, 2018). "'Pissed' Ari Emanuel Called Jared Kushner to Vent About Saudi Khashoggi Fiasco". The Daily Beast. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  26. ^ "Endeavor Pulling Out of $400 Million Saudi Arabia Deal (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. October 15, 2018. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  27. ^ "Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel urges brands to stop working with Kanye West". www.cbsnews.com. October 21, 2022. Retrieved October 24, 2022.
  28. ^ "Ari Emanuel Takes Aim at Benjamin Netanyahu Over Terror Attacks in Israel: 'I Don't Think This Man Deserves to Be in Power'". variety. October 12, 2023.
  29. ^ "Ari Emanuel Condemns Netanyahu, Drawing Boos at Jewish Group's Gala". New York Times.
  30. ^ "Ari Emanuel denounces Israeli Prime Minister at Jewish group's gala". LA times.
  31. ^ "Ari Emanuel Accepts Simon Wiesenthal Center Honor, Slams Netanyahu Amid Walkouts and Boos". The Hollywood Repoter.
  32. ^ Randy Kennedy (October 3, 2012), Ari Emanuel Joins Board of Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles The New York Times. 2012/10/03
  33. ^ Gateway families: ancestors and descendants of Richard Simrall Hawes III and Marie Christy Johnson, by Christy Hawes Bond, Alicia Crane Williams, C. Hawes Bond, 1994, p. 527
  34. ^ Macon, Alexandra (June 16, 2022). "Inside Ari Emanuel and Sarah Staudinger's St. Tropez Wedding". Vogue. Retrieved June 18, 2022.

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