Word began to spread throughout Hollywood late today that ICM Co-President Ed Limato was in play, and that the wily agent to stars such as Mel Gibson, Denzel Washington, Richard Gere and Steve Martin was halfway out the door and headed to rival talent titan Creative Artists Agency.
Reached at his office, Chris Silberman, ICM's other co-president, would only say that Mr. Limato "is currently co-president of ICM," and declined to comment on his future with the company. Mr. Limato declined to speak with Advertising Age about his future with ICM, but shot down rumors that he might be headed to CAA.
Mr. Limato, 70, is more than an old guy with a lot of movie stars on speed dial. He's the gatekeeper to the few remaining top-grossing film stars at ICM. Unfortunately, Mr. Limato's regal bearing (he's purportedly demanding a private bathroom be built just for his use, according to ICM insiders) and individualistic style of representation eschews the teamwork culture favored by ICM's recent merger with the Broder Webb Chervin Silbermann Agency.
Indeed, the cultural transformation caused by ICM's acquisition of Broder has left quite a body count: A week after the acquisition last July, ICM's then-president Nancy Josephson joined rival Endeavor as a partner. By January, ICM's motion picture department head Robert Newman had joined her as a partner, as had Matt Solo, head of ICM's television literary department. Then, in March, ICM book agent Richard Abate left to start a start Endeavor's literary division.
While Mr. Limato's clear that he's not headed to CAA, he and his van-load of highly recognizable faces would be most welcome elsewhere, meaning the negotiations are far from over.