Image via Helga Esteb /

From being thanked at the Oscars to catching urine in a bowl

by Perry Zimel

What a difference a year makes. Last year Christopher Plummer won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his fantastic portrayal of an elderly gay man dying of cancer that comes out to his son in Beginners. Christopher thanked me and it made my wonderful, loving and supportive (Jewish) mother very proud of her son not becoming a lawyer, and choosing to be a talent manager instead. Phew . . . cross that off the list!

One year later, as Christopher got on that stage again (looking as handsome and dapper as George Clooney) to give Anne Hathaway her Best Supporting Actress Oscar, I was in the dog hospital with my wonderful Great Dane, Luka, as his kidneys were failing. After every test known to mankind (I think they even did a pregnancy test, and my dog is male), they could not figure out why his kidneys were failing. They tested for Lyme, Leptospirosis and everything from A – Z. They had him on every medication, talked about blood transfusions and having to put him down.

Luka Photo via Perry Zimel)

Photo via Perry Zimel

I sat with him from 8am to 7pm loving, nurturing and visualizing healthy protein levels and kidneys for him. He has (somewhat) turned a corner, and I’m taking him out for walks where I have to catch his urine in a bowl so they know how much fluid he is losing (so they know how much to give him intravenously).

What does this have to do with being a talent manager you might ask? Well, it is simple. Because of my job, I have been fortunate enough to meet some of the most amazing and of course talented people out there. Luka has fantastic vets, nurses, caretakers and staff. They have given Luka and me a VIP (Very Important Puppy) room with a couch, chairs, windows, sink and wifi. I sat there 11 hours a day doing my job as a talent manager through pilot season, and at the same time could be a devoted dog owner.

Again . . . what does this have to do with the entertainment business? Well it is simple. There is not a person who has not been praying for Luka. There is not a person that hasn’t been sending out good thoughts for him. I have received so many emails from my incredible clients, as well as agents, lawyers, casting people that I work with, that there is no way to actually reply to all of them.

I wanted, and succeeded, in breaking down the borders between the U.S. and Canada and work as a manager worldwide representing talent from different countries. It wasn’t always easy and I still sometimes have people walk up to clients of mine saying that I live in Canada most of the time, and therefore can’t do my job. I sometimes would get upset with this but ultimately choose to believe that most people are good . . . there are always a few apples in a barrel and that does not need to ruin the rest.

I have really noticed this with Luka.

It is amazing to me how this business that can be selfish, unforgiving and sometimes rude can also be so loving, caring and supportive. Every single person was understanding and helped in any way they could to make the deals easier to close.

There were people all banning together to get a deal done in the most amicable and beneficial way so that Luka could have my undivided attention.

It makes my heart full to know how people can come together and makes me wish (and hope) that we can always be as kind to one another. It was the first time in my career that I could say that borders didn’t exist. They were thrown down by both Americans and Canadians to act with compassion and selfless love to support Luka’s return to health.

Luka is not out of the woods yet but he is definitely in a huge clearing and alive, and that is because of the love and prayers people put out during a time (pilot season) when most are fighting to get what they want. At the end of the day I had clients book pilots which was wonderful, but it was the support during the process of negotiating with a sick dog that was the prize.

Perry Zimel

About Perry Zimel

Perry Zimel, a Toronto based manager is an anomaly in the entertainment business. A full-service talent & literary manager who works through lunch & speaks the painful truths up front. Follow me on TWITTER! @perryzimelmgr

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