When uber agent Toni Howard logged on to a Jan. 25 ICM Partners staff meeting, she was prepared to give updates about longtime client Samuel L. Jackson. But instead, Howard was treated to a surprise 30th-anniversary celebration that featured many of her A-list clients, former assistants and longtime friends.
The event kicked off with ICM managing director of talent and branding Adam Schweitzer, who teed up a special 30-minute tribute video. Among those who appeared were Jackson, Spike Lee (who had received best director and best film honors from the National Board of Review earlier that morning for Da 5 Bloods), Christopher and wife Georgianne Walken, Laura Linney, Nathan Lane, Topher Grace, Michael Sheen, Edie Falco, Alan Alda, Candice Bergen, Stephen Fry, and James Spader, among many others. The tributes ranged from heartfelt to hysterical, and Howard was not muted during the video presentation so colleagues could hear her real-time reactions to the latter.
ICM CEO Chris Silbermann and managing director Ted Chervin came on after the video to pay their respects and introduce Howard’s husband, producer David Yarnell, who was seated next to her. “I was surprised they got as many people as they did — who wants to give a tribute to your agent?” Howard quipped to THR, adding that she joked to client Spader that 30 years in the business translates to about 30,000 arguments.
More meaningful, however, were the generous well wishes she received from colleagues, like assistants turned peers Carter Cohn and Dar Rollins on down to the next generation who sent heartfelt notes. “After 30 years, I’m still very excited about my job, and the clients feel that. I also feel that, at my age, I’m still relevant, and that’s what makes me feel good.”
As for how she celebrated, Howard revealed she splurged and ordered caviar.
A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 3 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.