Ariel Zev "Ari" Emanuel is an American talent agent and co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor (WME), an entertainment and media agency who has a net worth of $35 million dollars. He was a founding partner of the Endeavor Agency and was instrumental in shaping its June 2009 merger with the William Morris Agency. Emanuel is the brother of former White House Chief of Staff and current Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel, National Institutes of Health bioethicist Ezekiel J. Emanuel, and adopted sister Shoshana Emanuel. Emanuel was born March 29, 1961 in Chicago, Illinois.
He is best known as the co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor (WME), an entertainment and media agency. He was a founding partner of the Endeavor Agency and was instrumental in its June 2009 merger with the William Morris Agency. In April 2009, Emanuel's firm Endeavour agreed to combine forces with its rival William Morris, an 111-year-old agency with a stellar reputation. The move, swiftly approved by the Federal Trade Commission, created a new super-agency of sorts, which boasted a client list of more than 1,000 of the world's most famous and talented actors, writers, musicians, directors and producers. This move posed a threat to the market dominance of Creative Artists Agency (CAA), a corporate beast founded by the legendary Michael Ovitz in the mid '70s, which has in recent times become so big and so successful that it overshadowed every other player in Hollywood. Interestingly, Emanuel began his entertainment industry career as an agent trainee at CAA. Ari Emanuel is widely considered a prominent talent agent, a beloved personality and even an inspiration, but his career has not been with its controversies. In 2006, Emanuel came to actor Mel Gibson's defense after Gibson's DUI arrest and highly publicized anti-Semitic remarks during the altercation, writing, "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." In 2002, a lawsuit was brought forward by agent Sandra Epstein (against Endeavor Agency) accusing Emanuel of allowing a friend to operate a pornographic website out of the Endeavor offices.