ICM’s Michael Black, who has been a talent agent for the past 24 years, is leaving the percentery biz to become a manager in a joint venture with Suzanne de Passe. Black, who has represented Tommy Lee Jones for the past 20 years, will continue in an exclusive relationship with him.
In addition, he will continue to represent Academy Award winners Ben Kingsley and Marsha Mason as well as Timothy Dalton, Bonnie Bedelia, Dabney Coleman, Tuesday Weld and newcomer Wade Dominguez (“Dangerous Minds”). They will all keep agents.
He will start at the new company — under the banner Michael Black Management Inc. — on June 2. He will share offices with de Passe Entertainment and work in various businesses with her. The combination of a strong talent manager in Black and a strong production vet in de Passe looks to be a formidable force.
Black’s move into management follows a growing trend among agents. The past few years have seen a number of talent agents move into management, including WMA’s Joan Hyler and UTA’s Judy Hofflund and Gavin Polone, to name a few.
Black and de Passe have known each other for 20 years. Black packaged two Emmy award-winning shows with de Passe, “Motown 25” and “Motown Returns to the Apollo.” The relationship continued when he packaged the 1989 de Passe production of “Lonesome Dove,” which starred his client Jones.
One of the more memorable packages he was involved in was helping to put together the feature film adaptation of Manuel Puig’s novel “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” which starred the late Raul Julia and earned William Hurt an Oscar. Black repped the producer, David Weisman, the director, Hector Babenco, Sonia Braga and screenwriter Leonard Schrader.”Michael has been a successful and respected agent at ICM for years. We are sorry to lose him, but wish him all the best in his new business,” said ICM co-chairman Jim Wiatt, who added, “Our staff meetings will never be the same. We will sorely miss his sense of humor.” Black is infamous for his wit and sarcasm during the weekly staff meetings.
True to his character, Black told Daily Variety he was ready to close one chapter of his life and begin a new one, and one day memorialize it all in his book “Black on Black: Your Basic, Simple, Chic Autobiography.” He added, “Kidding aside, I’m going to miss my many friends at the company, but look forward to working with them in this new capacity.”
According to de Passe: “The timing was perfect for us to explore every possible avenue and opportunity. Michael is a great idea person and very, very creative, and always has been. I’m sure in this environment his talents will serve us well. Besides, everyone at de Passe Entertainment can’t wait for him to start coming to our weekly meetings.”