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Showing posts with label caa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label caa. Show all posts

Friday, March 20, 2009

young sports agent at CAA dies of drug use or was it just a suicide?

The following obituary of a young man may have occured long ago, but the reality of drug and alcohol addiction is just as big a problem today as it was back then. Depression caused by the economy may even be a bigger concern as young people cannot find jobs and turn to drugs and alcohol to escape their lives problems.

Finding someone to watch over your friends and family like dr. sober companion, can be the difference between life and death. Don't you want to keep your son or daughter alive, long enough to have reached the young age 36?

Jay Moloney, the former CAA "Young Turk" whose meteoric rise as an agent was followed by an equally terrifying free fall into drug addiction, died Tuesday morning in an apparent suicide, authorities said. He turned 35 on Sunday.

Word of Moloney's death swept rapidly through the industry drawing an emotional response from industry friends and former colleagues. CAA president notified CAA staff via a heartfelt e-mail.

Moloney was found hanged in a shower in his Hollywood Hills home about 8 a.m., the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office said. A male friend who was staying in the house called 911 when he heard the shower running for some time.

Moloney was last seen alive sometime between 12:30-1:30 a.m., when he apparently locked himself inside the master bedroom, said L.A. County Coroner's spokesman Scott Carrier. He added that, while the investigation was ongoing, it appeared there was no foul play and no suicide note.

The coroner's office said Moloney had a "history of despondency."

Moloney's death follows years of battling substance abuse. Earlier this year, he was trying once again to re-establish himself in Hollywood after several years of exile. In April, he was named president of Paradise Music & Entertainment, the company newly formed by Bob Dylan's son Jesse, but lost his post there after several months.

"I knew Jay as a decent, hard-working guy," said Ron Meyer, who was president of Universal Studios and a co-founder of CAA. "It's a tragic waste of what could have been a full, productive life."

"He was always trying to get better. So many people worked to try and help Jay," said Andrew Jarecki, CEO of Moviefone and a longtime friend. "If there is any solace, it's that every one of his friends (was) there for him and tried hard to help him. This is a disease that was more powerful than all of his powerful friends."

During his 35 years, Moloney saw some extraordinary highs and lows, even by Hollywood standards.

Raised in Malibu and Newport, Ore., Moloney was the son of screenwriter Jim Moloney. While attending USC film school in May 1984, he landed a job in the CAA mailroom. Almost immediately, the 19-year-old was afforded a grand opportunity -- to work as Michael Ovitz's assistant.

"I am shocked and saddened by Jay's death," Ovitz said in a statement. "He was an incredibly talented man with a kind and gentle soul. Unfortunately, his personal struggles were too great to overcome. I will cherish our friendship, and his memory will remain with me always."

Moloney remained in Ovitz's office for three years before becoming a full-fledged agent. With Ovitz's help, he started handling the careers of some of the biggest names in the business. Among his clients (or clients he represented with Ovitz) were such A-list talent as Martin Scorsese, Ron Bass, Sean Connery, Leonardo DiCaprio, Steven Spielberg, Bill Murray, Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, Tim Burton and Uma Thurman.

"Jay was the reason that I signed with CAA," said screenwriter Bass, who knew him since 1989. "Before I even signed, he said, 'I'm going to be your agent,' and he went out and he flew across the country and got me a job working for Robert Redford. He did all this without any guarantee of a commission. He was one of the most lovely, charming, unforgettable people that I've seen in the 30-some years I've been in the business. I loved him. I guess (this is) a day I kidded myself would never come."

When Ovitz exited CAA to join the Walt Disney Co. in 1995, Moloney became one of the young agents named to run the agency, joining eight other managing partners including Richard Lovett, Rick Nicita, Lee Gabler, Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane, David O'Connor, Tom Ross and Jack Rapke.

About the same time, Moloney's close friends began to learn that he was battling a serious drug problem, and in May 1996 -- unable to kick his addiction -- he resigned from CAA. Subsequently, he spoke about spending time in rehab with reporter John Brodie for a Premiere magazine profile that was published in July 1997.

After leaving CAA, Moloney's life was a succession of battles to beat his drug habit and return to work. During that time, he was reported to have spent time working on a kibbutz in Israel and as a manual laborer in the Caribbean. But he also made at least one suicide attempt at the Beverly Hills Hotel, according to friends.

Throughout his struggles, many of his former CAA partners, along with Ovitz, remained supportive. About a year ago, there was talk that Moloney would join Ovitz's new venture, Artists Management Group. But nothing materialized from those talks.

In April, Moloney was named to run Paradise. But by August, he had stopped coming to work and was reportedly back in rehab, with M. Jay Walkingshaw named to replace him.

"Jay was our brother," the CAA partners said in a statement. "No words can express our sadness and grief at this moment. Everyone who knew Jay loved him."

"He had this youthful energy and exuberance and at the same time was incredibly fearless," said Amy Baer, Moloney's onetime assistant who is now an executive vp with Columbia Pictures. "I learned from him (that) if there was something you wanted to accomplish, proceed with no fear. He was a great teacher without ever really teaching -- he did it by example."

The coroner's office is continuing its investigation and will conduct complete toxicology tests, the results of which will not be available for six to eight weeks.

James David "Jay" Moloney is survived by his mother, Carole Johnson, and his two brothers, Sean and Darren. Funeral arrangements have yet to be determined.