Michael Ovitz, co-founder the Creative Artists Agency, Los Angeles, California, 1987. (Photo by Anthony Barboza/Getty Images)
Michael Ovitz, co-founder the Creative Artists Agency, Los Angeles, California, 1987. (Photo by Anthony Barboza/Getty Images)

In a new memoir, “Who is Michael Ortiz?” the former super agent and entertainment mogul opens up about his long, incredible rise—and swift fall—as a Hollywood power player. In 1975, Ovitz famously co-founded the Creative Artists Agency on a shoestring budget, but it soon reinvented the talent agency model, leveraging its stars’ power into blockbuster package deals. The power wielded by Ovitz via his ability to connect—or reject—Hollywood studios and artists made him the “most feared man in town” by the 1980s.

But after an acrimonious departure from CAA in 1995 and a brief, frustrating reign as president of Disney—that ended with him getting a controversial, $38 million severance package—Ovitz found himself on the outside of the entertainment industry looking in. In his new book, he talks about his meteoric ascent, his setbacks and regrets, and what projects keep him engaged now, among them his quiet role as a long-term adviser for Silicon Valley investors like Marc Andreessen.

“I do my work up north, where I’m involved with really terrific people,” Ovitz said of his life now, to the Wall Street Journal. “Life is really good.”