William Shatner, Joan Rivers Honor Talent Managers at Heller Awards

Larry Thompson with William Shatner
Larry Thompson with William Shatner
 Courtesy of Core

Before the Talent Managers Association’s 12th annual Heller Awards on Sept. 19 at the Beverly Hilton honoring talent representatives, managers, agents and casting directors, William Shatner said he’d been home watching a National Geographic program on the wood buffalo that seemed especially relevant.

“They’re troubled by trillions and trillions of insects,” said the actor. “And that’s the number of awards shows I’ve been to.”

Shatner was bitten by the bug to attend yet another award show because the recipient of the Heller Award for Lifetime Achievement in Talent Management was his manager Larry Thompson.

Shatner said that when Thompson first approached him 40 years ago about retaining his services, his reaction was “15 percent? Are you crazy?”; that became “You are crazy,” which led to “If the manager gets 15 percent; the agent gets 10 percent; the business manager gets 5 percent and the government gets 50 percent, plus the whole thing with the ex-wives, I’m going to end up owing money.”

Somehow Shatner overcame all these objections when Thompson said “cohesion” was the reason to hire him. “And I’m still thinking about that,” said Shatner.

Thompson was not the evening’s only honoree. The Pat McQueeney Award went to Dolores Robinson; the Luminous Award to Fern Orenstein; the Impact Award to Pam Dixon; and the TMA Manager of the Year was Annet McCroskey. The Adult Theatrical Agent of the Year went to Paradigm’s Iris Grossman; the Youth Theatrical Agent of the Year was the Osbrink Agency’s Emily Urbani; the Adult Commercial Agent of the Year was Coast to Coast Talent Group’s Hugh Leon; the Youth Commercial Agent of the Year was presented to the CESD’s Agency’s Carol Lynn Sher. Named Feature Casting Director of the Year was the Sarah Finn Company’s Sarah Finn; this year’s Television Casting Director of the Year award was given to April Webster Casting’s April Webster. The Commercial Casting Director of the Year was Sanford Casting’s Michael Sanford; the Associate Casting Director of the Year award went to Wendy O’Brien Casting’s Gina Gallego; the Voiceover Agent of the Year was CESD’s Melissa Berger-Brennan; and the Television Feature Animation Casting Director of the Year was Ivy Isenberg Casting’s Ivy Isenberg.

Joan Rivers seemed to strike a chord with the crowd when in her remarks about Thompson she defined the difference between agents and managers.

“Agents see you for what you can do at the moment,” said Rivers. “Managers see you for what you can do in the future.”

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