Ashley-Famous was a talent agency started in 1951 by talent agent Ted Ashley. The agency had a successful 16-year run under that name and owner; it was responsible for many hit television shows and had several famous clients. It changed ownership a few times, but is still a functioning talent agency today.
Beginnings Under Ted Ashley
Ted Ashley had been working at William Morris, where he started off as a talent agent at the age of 20, when he decided to break off and start his own talent agency at the age of 23. It started out as Ted Ashley and Associates. It continued to grow and in three years’ time, he had built up his business into Ashley-Famous, which was a much bigger and broader version than his previous endeavor. He was a very skilled talent agent and would lead top clients away from their agencies and bring them to his establishment. It is said that he is responsible for putting over 100 television shows on the air during his time at this agency. As owner of the agency, Ashley would have made about 10 percent off of each production. He left the agency in 1967 in order to accept an offer to be CEO of Warner Bros. Inc.
One of Ashley-Famous's claim to fame was their ability to market and sell hit television series. Many of the series ended up being cult classics and staples of pop culture, both in their time period and in current times. A few examples of these includeCandid Camera, Juvenile Jury, The Danny Kaye Show, Mission: Impossible, Get Smart, The Carol Burnett Show, Medic, Star Trek, Dr. Kildare, The Defenders, Tarzan, Name That Tune, The Twilight Zone and The Doris Day Show. These television shows were of all different genres including science fiction, spy dramas and spoofs, and game shows. Shows such as Mission: Impossible, Get Smart, and Star Trek have been made into films under the same names in recent times, starring popular celebrities like Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible), Steve Carell (Get Smart), Anne Hathaway (Get Smart), Zoe Saldana (Star Trek), and Chris Pine (Star Trek).
The talent agency represented clients from the entire spectrum of the entertainment industry including musicians, playwrights, and actors and actresses from both the big and small screens. Some of their more famous musical clients included Perry Como, Trini Lopez, Janis Joplin, The Doors, and Iron Butterfly. In the movie industry, they represented Burt Lancaster, Rex Harrison, Yul Brynner, and Ingrid Bergman. Arthur Miller was one of the playwrights they represented.
Changes in Ownership
In 1967, Ted Ashley sold Ashley-Famous over to Steve Ross, an entrepreneur in charge of Kinney National Company, in exchange for 12,750,000 in Warner's stock because of personal reasons that involved not wanting to be an agent anymore. In an interview, Ashley quotes, “There’s something undermining to one’s sense of one’s self about that whole relationship” (referencing the agent and client partnership). It was sold again in 1969 because of conflicts of interest that violated the anti-trust laws. It separated from Warner Bros. which was run by another Ashley brother and it became known as International Famous Agency. It merged with Creative Management Agency (CMA) and then became what is known today as International Creative Management.
Current Name and Owner
International Creative Management is still a successful talent agency and like its original agency, has clients from all different areas of the entertainment industry. It is also responsible for the packaging of many hit television series, such as Grey's Anatomy, Dancing with the Stars, Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, Criminal Minds, Undercover Boss, Cougar Town, House, Breaking Bad, The Simpsons, Two and a Half Men, Sons of Anarchy, Psych, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, America's Next Top Model, Kitchen Nightmares, Last Comic Standing, Friends, Army Wives, Cheers, Sex and the City, Frasier, Scrubs, and The X-Files, just like its former name was.
- "[Deathwatch] Ted Ashley, Agency Chief, 80". slick.org. Retrieved 2016-05-09.
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- "ICM-International Creative Management-Television." http://www.icmtalent.com/#/Television