Michael Ovitz Net Worth
Michael Ovitz Net Worth and salary: Michael Ovitz is an American talent agent who has a net worth of $500 million. Michael Ovitz was born December 14, 1946 in Chicago, Illinois. Ovitz is best known as the co-founder of Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in 1975 where he served as chairman until 1995. Ovitz became known as the most powerful man in Hollywood. He later served as president of the Walt Disney Company between 1995 and 1997. Ovitz founded CAA with fellow William Morris Agents Ron Meyer, Bill Haber, Rowland Perkins and Mike Rosenfeld. Borrowing only $21,000 from a bank, the agents rented a small office, conducting business on card tables and rented chairs, their wives taking turns as agency receptionist. Under Orvitz' direction, CAA quickly grew from a start-up organization to the world's leading talent agency, expanding from television into film, investment banking and even advertising. Ovitz was known for assembling "package deals", wherein CAA would utilize its talent base to provide directors, actors and screenwriters to a studio, thus shifting the negotiating leverage from the studios to the talent. Ovitz has served as talent agent to such Hollywood heavy-hitters as Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Costner, Michael Douglas, Bill Murray, Sylvester Stallone and Barbra Streisand, as well as directors Steven Spielberg, Barry Levinson, and Sydney Pollack. He also provided corporate consulting services, helping negotiate several major international business mergers and deals including Matsushita's acquisition of MCA/Universal, the financial rescue of MGM/United Artists, and Sony's acquisition of Columbia Pictures. His signing of Coca-Cola as a CAA client had a significant impact on the advertising industry. He also negotiated David Letterman's move from NBC to CBS, chronicled in the book The Late Shift: Letterman, Leno and the Network Battle for the Night by Bill Carter. Ovitz now acts as a private investor who has informally advised the careers of such notables as Martin Scorsese, David Letterman and Tom Clancy.
Time at Disney: Ovitz left CAA in 1995 initially because he thought he would become CEO of Disney, taking over for Michael Eisner who had been experiencing health issues. Eisner ended up essentially not giving up his position in any meaningful way which left Ovitz very frustrated and sandbagged. When he left CAA he gave up $200 million in guaranteed future fees so Disney had to step up and offer him a no-fault golden parachute if his time at Disney did not work out. When he left Disney after a little longer than one year, he was paid $138 million ($38 million in cash and $100 million in stock). Disney shareholders sued Eisner and the Disney board for agreeing to such a large package, but that lawsuit was ultimately not successful.
Outside of business, Michael is an active investor and philanthropist. In 1999 he donated $25 million to UCLA's medical center. He is also one of the world's top art collectors, owning pieces by Jasper Johns, Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning.