March 30th, 2005


That's amore

A deal for the host of an upcoming nature show for our animal-themed channel within our network umbrella landed on my desk, and chop-chop, the deal needed to be closed yesterday. The host is a veejay from MTV India. She’s hot Hot HOT! Get her cheap! When I saw the email informing me who her agent was, I smiled, shook my head, and wondered why the hell he was representing her.

When I was just a pisher mailroom boy, an agent trainee at ICM, Jack Gilardi was the shit. With Sue Mengers, they controlled the top stars in Hollywood of the day. Jack was a dapper man, a pocket scarf and a perma-tan. He was married, still might be, to Annette Funicello.

I dialed ICM’s main number, asked for Jack Gilardi.

“He’s still alive?” I heard my boss ask through our mutual office wall.

“Can you believe?” I waited for his assistant to pick up. His old secretary, with her blond bubble hair-do and sibilant s, was a scary five-foot Scientologist (you should’ve seen the spray when she said that word). I pondered what she’d look like twenty years later, the sss still in place, but a young male assistant answered instead. I told him my name and the purpose of the call, and I waited.

Jack picked up his phone. “Hi, I know you don’t remember me, but I was once a trainee, and you were someone who actually treated me with respect and taught me a great deal.”

Not only was it true, but also a good tactic to begin a negotiation. He warmed immediately. I asked about his old secretary, paid respect to a senior statesman in the business that just passed away. I kissed major, old, wrinkly Italian butt, but you know I was actually being sincere.

“Just send me the offer and you got yourself a deal,” he said, skipping the word kid at the end of the sentence, his voice a caricature of every agent’s voice you’ve heard.

“Thank you, Jack. My best to your family.” All I could think of when I hung up was I just called Mr. Gilardi "Jack"!