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2 Endeavor Agents Defect to William Morris

Steve Rabineau and David Lonner bring high-profile clients to the rival talent firm.

September 17, 2003|Claudia Eller | Times Staff Writer

Two partners at Endeavor have defected to join rival William Morris Agency, roiling the waters between two of Hollywood's biggest talent agencies.

Endeavor motion picture agents Steve Rabineau and David Lonner bring with them a number of high-profile filmmaker clients, including Alfonso Cuaron, J.J. Abrams, Alexander Payne and Audrey Wells.

At Morris, Rabineau and Lonner reunite with agency President Jim Wiatt and movie chief Dave Wirtschafter, with whom they previously worked at International Creative Management.

"David and I joined Endeavor with a specific set of assumptions and goals about where we wanted the business to go," said Rabineau, who left ICM in 1997. "Over the last few years, it became apparent that we weren't on the same page."

Lonner, who joined Endeavor in 1996, said, "The time has come to move on." The departures leave Endeavor with 12 partners.

Wiatt said he was "excited personally as well as professionally" to reconnect with the pair.

The defection of key agents and their clients always comes as a destabilizing blow to the agency left behind and underscores the highly competitive nature of the talent representation business. Agents typically are paid 10% of a client's fee, which in the case of top talent can mean millions of dollars per job.

In 1995, four top agents from ICM left to form Endeavor. Regarding Tuesday's defections, an Endeavor executive said, "They decided to resign. We wish them the best of luck. They weren't happy here."

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