April 28, 2009
David Lonner leaving William Morris Agency
I just posted about the William Morris Endeavor merger but I’m so shocked/disappointed/confused about agent David Lonner leaving that I need to vent. So there.
The first thing everyone should know about David Lonner is that he is AWESOME. In addition to being a superagent who reps a darn good roster: J.J. Abrams (“Star Trek”) Alexander Payne (“Sideways”), Brad Silberling (“Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events”), Jon Turteltaub (“National Treasure”) and Audrey Wells (“Under the Tuscan Sun”), Lonner is also a passionate Israel advocate. For the past few years, Lonner has invited a select group of Hollywood tastemakers on a curtain-raising trip to Israel. On the trip that he co-finances with the Federation, people with little or no previous relationship to Israel get to fall in love with it. My colleague Brad Greenberg wrote about these trips in December 2007 and the L.A. Times caught up in July 2008.
But as of the merger announcement late yesterday, Lonner has hit more troubling times. He will not continue with William Morris into the new, merged climate. How this came to pass is unclear, but suffice it to say, Lonner left Endeavor for William Morris years ago because he wasn’t happy at Endeavor. The bad blood has remained, apparently on both sides. According to Variety, “[Lonner] was abruptly informed last week that he would not be part of the new agency by WMA chief Jim Wiatt and Endeavor topper Ari Emanuel.” In Hollywood fashion, their timing was impeccable because, just last week, Lonner helped J.J. Abrams secure a 5-year deal at Paramount and that commission will remain with the agency that is now ousting him.
More about the merger fallout from Variety: