Talent agent turned manager turned producer Gavin Polone is profiled in the prestigious New York Times Sunday Magazine 2/9/03.
Journalist Jess Katz writes that within the TV and film worlds, Gavin's name is "synonymous with pitiless brinkmanship and pathological honesty."
Gavin's production company is called Pariah. His e-mail: AlphaGav.
In the last four years, Polone has produced the thriller ''8mm'' as well as the hit ''Panic Room.'' He has also produced four TV series in that time, including HBO's ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'' and the WB's hit, ''Gilmore Girls.''
Katz notes that Polone ignores the rituals of greetings such as kisses and handshakes. He lives on an "1,800-calorie-a-day diet of green tea, protein powder and egg whites." He's a registered Republican. He works six days a week, 18-hours a day. He rejects marriage and children and lives with his girlfriend of seven years, Elizabeth Oreck, 37. ''People often have children to fulfill some kind of twisted, egocentric reflection of themselves,'' she says. ''The truth is, we both prefer animals to people.'' (NYT, 2/9/03)
Polone once lived for almost a year at the Regent Beverly Wilshire hotel "to strip his life of possessions and waste. He does not give gifts or celebrate holidays or wear jewelry or listen to music or, with rare exceptions, even watch his own shows."
Gavin's friends include director Jon Turteltaub, ''Late Night'' host Conan O'Brien and the ''Seinfeld'' co-creator Larry David.
Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, Gavin did not get much time with his father Jerry, a driven real-estate lawyer. His parents separated when Gavin was in eighth grade. His mother Judy became a TV producer.
''I was a sad kid,'' says Polone, adding that his only friend for many of those years was Chiquita, the family cat. ''I was very undisciplined and weak and fearful and sensitive, and this left me being emotional and vulnerable all the time.''
Polone graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in three years as a film major. He got a real-estate license and tested with the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1985, he met a TV agent at a party who later asked him to be her assistant at International Creative Management. At age 21, Polone began earning $350 a week.
He worked hard and within two years was making deals. He developed his own personal style, growing a beard and ponytail, dressing in black Armani turtlenecks, and driving a Ferrari. He studied martial arts and learned to break boards and bricks with his bare hands. He promised many of the top writers on ''Seinfeld'' and ''The Simpsons,'' to ''kill for them . . . to slaughter anybody in their path.''
In 1989, when I.C.M. learned he was jumping to a rival firm, they fired him. ''He was into creating a cult of personality,'' says Peter Benedek, who hired Polone in 1989 to join the Bauer-Benedek Agency, which soon became United Talent Agency. ''He looked a little like Rasputin. He was very Machiavellian. He loved that reputation.'' (NYT, 2/9/03)
UTA fired Polone in 1996, citing his ''inappropriate'' treatment of television agent Nancy Jones. This triggered three years worth of lawsuits with Gavin divulging at every turn the secrets of his ex-employer. The lawsuits eventually reached an undisclosed settlement, "but not before the public record had been filled with tales of dope-smoking, alcoholism, cocaine addiction, prostitution, masturbation, sexual harassment and, for good measure, expense-account fraud. ''He did some really nasty stuff,'' says Benedek, who recently rekindled their friendship after years of silence. ''There are still several people here who will never forgive him. He came close to bringing this place down."" (NYT, 2/9/03)
Polone became a personal manager. Then in the summer of 2001, he opened his production company Pariah.
Katz writes that Gavin is obsessed with order and self denial. "His day begins at 4:45 a.m. in a minimalist, Asian-motif ranch house on a ridge high above Beverly Hills. He refuses to sleep one minute more than he believes his mind needs to function, to eat one calorie more than his body needs to survive. His pulse, upon waking, is 48. He feeds himself eight ounces of dry cereal, scooped out of its container with a stainless-steel measuring cup. He guzzles 32 ounces of cold green tea, a brew that his live-in girlfriend lets steep until it begins to assume the qualities of turpentine. He is 6-foot-1 and weighs 160 pounds. Twice a week, he heads to Master Chong's studio; a sign there reads, ''House of Discipline.'' Four other mornings, he trains on his own, focusing on a different set of muscles each day. His wardrobe now consists of just 20 polo shirts and 15 pairs of jeans."