John Ferriter, Talent Rep at William Morris, Octagon and The Alternative, Dies at 59

John Ferriter - H 2014
AP Images

John Ferriter - H 2014

He sued for $25 million and reached a settlement with WMA following its 2009 merger with Endeavor.

John Ferriter, the longtime William Morris Agency talent agent who later worked at Octagon Entertainment before launching the management and production company The Alternative in 2015, died Thursday. He was 59.

Ferriter died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of complications from pancreatitis, his partner at The Alternative, Jamie Gruttermeyer, said.

Ferriter was a pioneer in representing clients in the unscripted television space. His clients over the years included Jerry Garcia, Jimmy Kimmel, Dick Clark, Garth Brooks, Arsenio Hall, Ryan Seacrest, Piers Morgan, Claudia Schiffer, Adam Carolla, Carson Daly, Mario Lopez, Nancy O'Dell, Marie Osmond, Drew Pinsky, Erin Burnett and Emmy-winning producer Glenn Weiss.

Ferriter worked at WMA for more than 19 years, starting out as an assistant to agent Dick Howard in 1991 en route to becoming executive vp/worldwide head of nonscripted television. There, he repped talent on such shows as Project RunwayThe Biggest LoserKeeping Up With the Kardashians and Chelsea Lately.

Ferriter was the lone agency partner to vote against the firm's 2009 merger with Endeavor, then claimed he was marginalized and eventually forced out.

"I was constructively terminated," he told the Daily Beast in 2010. "An announcement was made saying I had resigned. That is not true. I never would have left the agency on my accord. I bled William Morris blue."

He sued for $25 million, and a settlement, the terms of which were undisclosed, was announced in 2012. Also that year, he received an Emmy nomination for producing the MTV teen bullying show It Gets Better.

Ferriter joined Octagon in 2010 as managing director within the agency's athletes and personalities division and spent five years there before opening The Alternative with Jamie.

Born April 15, 1960, Ferriter attended UC Santa Barbara, where he served as student body vp and worked at the school's radio station as programming director before getting his degree in history in 1982. 

Ferriter also was a singer and songwriter with The Stingrays and The Tearaways, bands that backed up such groups as R.E.M., Guns N' Roses and The Bangles.

The Tearaways were scheduled to play at Molly Malone's in Los Angeles on Tuesday before embarking on a tour in the U.K.

Survivors include his siblings Theresa, Thomas, Michael and Patricia, who in a statement called Ferriter a "one-of-kind celestial trail blazer whose star burnt out too soon. John was a friend to all and a mentor to many."

Donations in his memory can be made to the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Columbus, Ohio.