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Three Hollywood power-personas were available to Michael Ovitz: the Gladhander, the Grand Man About Town and the Tough Guy. He chose the third. Richard Rushfield reviews Ovitz’s new memoir.
When the history of Hollywood is written, few people will have played a larger role than Michael Ovitz. The legend begins in 1975, when, while still in his 20s, he and a handful of partners defected from the venerable but decaying William Morris Agency and founded Creative Artists. From that perch especially, he dragged Hollywood out of its insular business model—and self-satisfied state of mind—and turned it toward becoming the global powerhouse it is today. Having accomplished that, the legend continues, Mr. Ovitz, at the height of his powers, took a couple stumbles and disappeared from view as completely as Greta Garbo.