Comedian Tracey Morgan says his business manager is not only someone he hired to take care of his finances. He is more like family. At an award dinner, the Brooklyn native took the mic to pay homage to his friend and joked that if it weren’t for his sound financial advice, he would have bought the “Brooklyn Bridge.”
Mark Landesman, the founder of ML Management, has been managing Morgan’s finances for 20 years and sees his celebrity client as more than a check. This is why after his tragic accident in 2014, where he and others were injured after a truck driver crashed into his vehicle and Morgan almost lost his life, he was one of the first to show up at the hospital.
The “Saturday Night Live” alum acknowledged the unusual nature of their relationship when taking to the podium at the Hollywood Reporter’s Annual Power Business Managers Breakfast on Oct. 25 to present his manager with the Business Manager Icon Award.
One of the first things that Morgan joked about was that Landesman provides balance to his sometimes outlandish spending whims.
“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 joked, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
He also facetiously told the crowd that there have been times that he wanted to buy “the Brooklyn Bridge” and “the Empire State Building.”
Morgan said that at one time he wanted to purchase the Staten Island Ferry but was told by Landesman, “No, Tracy, my other client Pete Davidson already owns it.”
After a bit, the “30 Rock” funnyman got serious and said he loved Landesman and declared, “He’s more than just a business manager, he’s more than just a friend, Mark is like a member of my family.”
Adding, “From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all that you’ve done and all you’ve done for me.”
The relationship between the two is abnormally close.
Berklee University outlines the job description of a personal business manager, stating that one plays a vital role in supporting celebrity clients and managing their legal and financial affairs in the entertainment and business portfolio. This role often involves cooperation with an entertainment attorney, agent, and general manager to create a cohesive financial strategy that maximizes the client’s income.
Landesman and Morgan’s relationship supersedes this description.
On July 7, 2014, a Walmart truck driver crashed into Morgan’s limo on the New Jersey Turnpike. The near-death experience was an example of the extraordinary bond they have.
“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,” the business manager explained. “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.”
According to Landesman, he helped with the tough decisions, and facilitated much of the long journey to recover, amidst doubts his artist would ever be able to work again.
After Morgan’s recovery, THR reports that the comedian and others hurt in the crash filed a negligence lawsuit against Walmart and received possibly a minimum of $90 million in a settlement. Morgan’s current estimated net worth is an estimated $50 million, showing that he needs Landesman more than ever.
“I’m happy to say my relationship with Tracy is totally back to normal,” he said. “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.’”