Tracy Morgan paid tribute to his longtime business manager Mark Landesman on Wednesday, admitting, “I don’t know where I’d be without you, bro.”
Landesman was recognized with THR‘s Business Manager Icon Award at its annual Power Business Managers breakfast, where Morgan, his client of 20 years, presented him with the honor.
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At the podium, Morgan joked, “Whenever I want to buy a new Ferrari, Mark is always here to say, ‘No, Tracy.’ If it wasn’t for Mark, I would’ve had 26 Ferraris and a terrible tax problem.” He also teased he’s previously asked if he could buy the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building and the Staten Island Ferry — the last of which he was told, “No Tracy, my other client Pete Davidson already owns it.”
Though the ML Management founder has a long list of star clients, the two have a particularly deep bond, as Landesman was the first person at the hospital following Morgan’s severe car crash in 2014.
On a more serious note, Morgan told Landesman, “I love you, I’ll always love you,” he said. “You mean a lot to me. You were there for me.”
He continued, “He’s more than just a business manager, he’s more than just a friend, Mark is like a member of my family. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all that you’ve done and all you’ve done for me.”
Accepting his award, the business manager acknowledged that many people don’t know exactly what his job entails, and on top of handling all aspects of his clients’ money, “our relationship can go much deeper for some; our clients rely on us for so many non-financial matters and seek our advice on so many lifestyle issues and as such, we are all considered very close and trusted fiduciaries.”
Landesman recalled hearing about Morgan’s horrific accident on the news and learning that the star had been airlifted to a New Jersey hospital about an hour from his house.
“My immediate reaction was to get to the hospital as soon as possible, because I knew Tracy just completed his estate plan and I was named his power of attorney and health care proxy,” he explained, with an emotional Morgan by his side. “After walking into the emergency room, I was escorted into the conference room, briefed on the situation and was introduced to numerous doctors. I then realized Tracy’s family were heavily relying on me for guidance and to help interpret the situation. Very tough decisions had to be made; Tracy’s recovery was long and difficult. I visited him throughout the hospital and then at the rehab facility, which went over several months. I tried to keep the spirits positive, and there was so many unknowns ahead of him: What kind of recovery would Tracy have and would he ever be able to work again?”
Cut to today, and Morgan has had an impressive recovery and returned to comedy, with Landesman noting, “I’m happy to say my relationship with Tracy is totally back to normal. I talk him out of buying all the Ferraris. I tell him, ‘Don’t buy this, don’t buy that, don’t buy the Brooklyn Bridge and save your money.'”
To conclude, Landesman added, “The last three years have been very overwhelming to almost everyone here, from the onset of COVID and to the recent strikes. Many clients need us to get them through these tough times.” Landesman then gave a special shoutout to his very first client, Eddie Murphy. “We were 23 when we met — he gave me an opportunity that changed my life. He was my luck factor and I’m forever grateful.”
The award presentation was part of a breakfast celebrating Hollywood’s Top Business Managers, which also included a keynote Q&A between CAA’s Ted Chervin and THR senior business editor Ashley Cullins about the increasingly intertwined business relationship between Hollywood and professional sports.
The 13th annual event was held at Cut in Beverly Hills and sponsored by City National Bank.
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