James Andrew Miller is the author of Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency. Like his earlier books on ESPN and Saturday Night Live, this one is done in the style of an oral history, featuring interviews with people involved with CAA from its very beginnings to its present, much bigger state.
The agency was founded in 1975 by five agents -- including Michael Ovitz and Ron Meyer -- who shocked Hollywood when they defected from the William Morris Agency. CAA indeed became a powerhouse, representing Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg and many more.
Ovitz, who came dominate at CAA, was secretive and controlling -- Spy magazine called him "Mike the Manipulator." His opposite number was Ron Meyer, as charming and deferential as Ovitz was not.
When the two finally left CAA in 1995, the job of running the agency fell to five younger agents known as the Young Turks. In fact, host of The Business Kim Masters made up that name for them years ago when she was working for Premiere magazine, never imagining it would stick. Yet it became part of Hollywood lingo and it is used frequently in the pages of Miller's book.
Three of the Young Turks -- Richard Lovett, Bryan Lourd and Kevin Huvane -- still run CAA today. Miller tells us how he got almost everyone to talk for his book, what he learned and what surprised him most along the way.