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THR's Women in Entertainment 2011: Power 100

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    74. Toni Howard
    74
    Toni Howard
    Executive Vp, ICM

    "I don't think people care about age, they care about how hard somebody works," says Howard, who recently signed actors Topher Grace and Nathan Lane. The longtime motion picture talent agent counts veterans Michael Caine, Christopher Walken and Alan Alda among her clients, and takes pride in having pushed Samuel L. Jackson back toward theater this year, as Martin Luther King Jr. in the Broadway play The Mountaintop.

    "Between movies, television and theater, now is very exciting for actors," she says. "Today, you have to read every play, read every television script, read every movie and decide what's best."

    PHOTOS: 2011 Women in Entertainment Power 100

    Michael Keaton has film, TV and theater projects set up, Alda has best-selling books and a new play at the Geffen and Michael Sheen is taking on Hamlet in London. And actors Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), David Strathairn (Alphas), Laura Linney (The Big C), Emily Mortimer (More As This Story Develops) and James Spader (The Office) have seized on opportunities in TV.

    "The reason people are gravitating to television is because the writing is so excellent," says Howard, 67. "There isn't that snob thing anymore about television. It is quite an accomplishment to get and keep shows on the air."

    A Los Angeles native who's been married for 22 years, Howard puts great value on her marriage and jokes that her clients are her kids: "They fulfill my nuturing instincts."

    Travel in recent years has included a few summer jaunts to Europe on David Geffen's boat with her TV producer husband, David Yarnell, while her time in the agency trenches has offered endless perspective on the vicissitudes of gender politics in the industry.

    "I have always felt that being a woman in this business has helped me. People used to say, 'Oh, but they're young and hot,' and I think well, I am old and hot!" she says with a laugh. "I'm the Clint Eastwood of the agenting world."

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