Friends of Californians with Disabilities, Giving Back Award
Mitte is best known for his turn as Walter White Jr. on AMC’s “Breaking Bad.” His portrayal earned him attention; Mitte himself has a mild case of cerebral palsy, and his character had a more severe case of CP. The actor spent five seasons on the hit show playing Bryan Cranston’s son, who doesn’t realize his mild-mannered father has taken to manufacturing meth; the role earned him a 2013 SAG Award as a member of the show’s ensemble. Mitte has put his increasingly high profile to good use, advocating for more roles for actors with disabilities. He will receive the Giving Back award for his work with the Shriners Hospitals for Children and the United Cerebral Palsy Assn., organizations he is proud to support. “They’re looking out for people’s best interests, for opportunities to give people roles that they can grow from and show people true characters,” Mitte says. “I enjoy seeing people evolve. People forget what they’re capable of.”
Daniel Martinez Matallana
Pat McQueeney Award
Horowitz will receive the kudo in recognition of her 30-plus years as a talent manager. She currently runs her own agency, Joanne Horowitz Management. With such clients as Kevin Spacey and Scott Eastwood, Horowitz’s schedule is perpetually full to the brim. “You put your love and guts into your clients,” Horowitz says. Before her management career, Horowitz helped build the groovy scene at Studio 54. She also worked in publicity and marketing at Universal and United Artists. “I decided it’s more fascinating to be part of creating someone’s career and morphing the career and guiding the career than it was to just do PR,” she says.
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Lifetime Achievement Award For Excellence as a Talent Agent
Jeff Witjas was in law school when he got his first job working in the mail room at William Morris Agency. Decades later, the now senior VP at APA finds a practical application for his academic toils. “No one can screw around with you because you know the law,” he laughs. Witjas represents a bevy of clients including household names like Betty White and rising stars like Jason Momoa, who will play Aquaman in the upcoming superhero feature. A meticulous planner, Witjas puts together a game plan every night for what he wants to accomplish the next day. But when he arrives in his office each morning, he has to be prepared for anything. “My best years are ahead of me,” Witjas says with the confidence that, even with a lifetime achievement award, his journey is far from over.
Courtesy of Jeff Witjas
2015 Television Managers Assn. Manager of the Year
For Daryn Simons, receiving a Heller Award is merely an extension of her dedication. She is, after all, the event’s producer, and a member of the Talent Managers Assn. board of directors. Years ago, after she had already worked in the industry for three years, Simons attended the awards for the first time and found a group of like-minded individuals. “It felt like I was home,” she says. Outside TMA and the Heller Awards, Simons works for Acting Out management, which she started in 2009. To her, the most satisfying moments in her career are watching her clients get big breaks. “To see that come to fruition,” she says, “It’s like magic.” As far as producing the Heller Awards goes, Simons says her longtime dream was to have comic Joan Rivers present — a goal that she accomplished last year before the comedian passed away.
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Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Management
“You don’t know you’re making history at the time,” says John Hartmann of Holodigm Music about his career managing over 100 bands. He was an aspiring actor, so when he got a job at the William Morris Agency mail room, he was just looking for a new agent. After seeing management in action, he became enchanted. As a young agent, Hartmann made a name for himself when he discovered folk rock duo Chad and Jeremy, and built them into the British Invasion. When he gets goose bumps, Hartmann knows he has encountered great artistry, which caused him to sign Buffalo Springfield after half a song, and the Eagles after three. Hartmann calls the relationship between manager and talent “the first marriage in show business,” a series of love affairs that have defined his career and music as we know it.