Hollywood Powerhouse with ADHD: Ari Emanuel, Agent to the Stars

Co-founder of William Morris/Endeavor Entertainment, Ari Emanuel is a Hollywood legend who inspired the Ari Gold character on "Entourage." He's also an ADHD adult with dyslexia who struggled to read as a child.

Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel has adult ADHD and dyslexia Getty Images Ari Emanuel

The teachers said that I wasn’t going to college. My mother didn’t listen to them.

Ari Emanuel, co-founder of William Morris/Endeavor Entertainment

I was in third grade when teachers knew something was wrong. A specialist showed me pictures of a banana and a mule. I knew the difference between them, but I couldn’t get the words out.

My father, a pediatrician, diagnosed me with ADHD and dyslexia. That began a process in which my mother took me to different reading teachers, and, through force of will, got me to read. There were also horse pills of Ritalin.

In high school, I was in the "special ed" program. The teachers said that I wasn’t going to college. My mother didn’t listen to them. We continued to see the reading teachers. I hated her for it then, but I love her for it now.

In my house, you had to do well in school, and my parents didn’t treat me any different from my brothers. I had to read the newspapers and fight for my opinions about politics at the dinner table.

As head of Endeavor, I have to be creative. My dyslexia helps me: I don’t think the way other people do. To stay focused, I get up at 4 a.m. and work out like a madman. It works. I don’t take Ritalin any more.

From the NYU Child Study Center’s Adam Jeffrey Katz Memorial Lecture

This article comes from the Fall 2009 issue of ADDitude.

To read this issue of ADDitude in full, buy the back issue.

TAGS: ADHD Role Models, Famous People with ADHD, Learning Disabilities

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