According to scribe Frank Rose, there’s no more compelling way to show how the entertainment industry evolved than to tell the story of the venerable William Morris Agency. Rose is putting the finishing touches on his book on Morris, “The Agency,” which HarperCollins will roll out this spring. He promises an in-depth look at how the agency grew, including its dealings with a long list of superstars.
“The agency’s relationship with Elvis Presley and Col. Parker, Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe all figure prominently in the book,” says Rose.
The author had access to rare documents, including William Morris Jr.’s unpublished biography of his father, plus the founder’s journals and correspondence.
But he didn’t have the cooperation of the agency. William Morris management closed the door on Rose after he wrote a piece about the agency for the August 1991 issue of Premiere magazine. Entitled “The Case of the Ankling Agents,” the article chronicled a series of high profile agent and client defections that rocked Morris in the late’ 80s.
“That Premiere article was a hatchet job, pure and simple,” says a veteran Morris agent. “It was all of the bad and none of the good.”
Rose claims he bears the agency no ill will. “If you follow the growth of William Morris, you have it all,” says Rose. “Contained in its almost 100 years of existence is the evolution of everything from Broadway to the film industry to television to rock n’ roll.”