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H’wood mourns passing of gifted, troubled son

Moloney's memorial service held at Paramount Theater

It’s a common, albeit morbid, curiosity to wonder what it would be like to attend one’s own funeral.

Jay Moloney’s memorial service, held Friday in the Paramount Theater, might have helped assuage the insecurities that gripped the former agent, as Hollywood’s best and brightest mourned his passing.

As family, friends and colleagues gathered for the services, one noted that Moloney would be pleased with the turnout, “the big showbiz party he would have wanted.”

At one point, the theater was so full that guests sat on the floor, consoling each other. Those attending the early afternoon service offered each other support, as many had struggled with and supported Moloney through his roller-coaster ride to the top of the agency hierarchy and the drug-fueled downward spiral that culminated with his suicide last week.

Mourners described the former agent as a loving, passionate and brilliant human being. But after an opening prayer, CAA managing partner Richard Lovett chastised the media’s attempt to “simplify and dramatize” the tragedy, reducing it to yet another example of Hollywood excess — as if a high-powered career would be the sole factor in a person’s demise.

“Jay had two real diseases — depression and drug addiction — that discovered each other,” Lovett said.

Former CAA chairman and Moloney mentor Michael Ovitz eulogized Moloney as someone who taught as many lessons as he absorbed.

“We are in a very difficult business,” Ovitz said. “We have a habit, as a community, of not appreciating people amongst us until they are gone.”

Actor and former client Bill Murray offered some much-needed comic relief.

“Because Jay would have wanted it that way, I’m going to waive my fee today.” He then turned on his audience: “There are so many people here today that I would much rather be eulogizing.”

The sentiments of those who could not attend were expressed through letters. Messages from Martin Scorsese, Michael Caton-Jones and Joel Schumacher were read aloud, as were passages from Moloney’s favorite literary works.

In lieu of flowers, the Moloney family requests donations be made to the Jay Moloney Memorial Fund, care of the CAA Foundation.

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