Here’s my latest LA Weekly column, Two Tonys Is One Too Many for Mogul.
You know how, in that New York Times article, Paramount studio boss Brad Grey issued a statement through a spokesperson that he was only “casually acquainted” with thug-for-hire Anthony Pellicano and had “no relationship” with him until the private detective was signed up by Grey’s attorney, super-lawyer Fields, to help in the Garry Shandling lawsuit against Grey. People for Ovitz, too, previously said that the ex-Hollywood powermeister’s only dealings with Pellicano were through the law firm, Gorry Meyer & Rudd, that represented Ovitz and his now defunct Artists Management, and it was they who elected to hire Pellicano, not Ovitz. (According to that account, Mike had declined to choose from among a list of investigators the firm recommended to him.)
Yeah, sure, nobody knew anybody. Really, amnesia in this town is becoming an epidemic now that the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles has heated up its investigation.
But, I’ve learned that, a few years ago, when Grey was still the head of talent management/production company Brillstein-Grey, he brought the William Morris Agency the idea of doing an original series with the working title Hollywood Dick based on Pellicano’s life and work. The Pelican was thrilled about the project and signed on as a consultant. With Billy Friedkin attached to direct, Brad and WMA pitched HBO, who passed. (Strange why this wasn’t in the NYT‘s Grey article, though a Feb. 26th Los Angeles Times story made brief mention of it without detailing Pellicano’s involvement.)
Oh, and then there’s the fact that Bernie Brillstein, Grey’s longtime partner, confirmed to me that the location of the old Brillstein Co., the forerunner to Grey’s firm (and where Grey was mentored from 1986 until 1991, when he became a 50-50 name partner) was just two doors down the hallway from Pellicano’s office in the same 9200 Sunset Boulevard building. Brillstein later took over Pellicano’s space in an expansion.
As for Ovitz, one mogul recalled to me that back in the 1990s Pellicano approached him and said, “Mike Ovitz has asked me to do some work for him.” The mogul said to Pellicano, “Be careful, Ovitz is a scumbag.” Later, the mogul ran into Pellicano, who remembered that conversation and said, “You were right. Ovitz is a scumbag.” Nothing like the pot calling the kettle black.
Maybe Grey’s and Ovitz’s reps should revise their disclaimers.