People lost their minds when actress Jami Gertz represented the Atlanta Hawks during Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery.
Gertz, 52, was an ’80s It girl with roles in The Lost Boys, Square Pegs, and Sixteen Candles, but has lived a relatively quieter life out of the spotlight — hence everyone’s shocked reaction when she popped up yesterday in Chicago. She immediately became a trending topic on Twitter — luckily for something positive, much to the relief of Dana Delany — with everyone wondering where she’s been.
Let us help you out by answering a few of your burning questions.
Yes, she owns the Hawks.
Gertz is married to Tony Ressler, the principal owner of the team. Ressler’s group purchased the Hawks in 2015 for $850 million, according to ESPN. They are also minority owners of baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers. Gertz and Ressler wed in 1989 and will celebrate their 29th wedding anniversary in June. They have three sons: Oliver, 26, Nicholas, 23, and Theo, 20.
Yes, that makes her a billionaire.
Ressler is estimated to be worth around $2.1 billion, according to Forbes. He is the chairman and CEO of Ares Management, a private equity and investment firm.
What else does she do with that money? Give back.
Ressler and Gertz are big into philanthropy, particularly when it involves education and bettering the Los Angeles community. They were called the most charitable couple of all by nonprofit organization the Giving Back Fund after donating more than $10 million to institutions like the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Cedars-Sinai hospital through their Ressler-Gertz Foundation.
“It’s who we are as a couple and as a family,” Gertz told Haute Living years ago. “We should all pitch in and help each other out in this world. That’s the decision we made as a family, to make the world a little better.”
The couple (along with others) put $30.5 million toward the launch of the Painted Turtle, a free year-round camp for children with severe medical challenges. Fun fact: Ressler also named a Los Angeles charter school, Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School, after the couple as a 40th birthday gift to Gertz.
No, she hasn’t completely given up acting.
Gertz made the switch from movies to TV for the most part after the 1994 film Twister. Last year, she appeared on an episode of Difficult People and in 2016 she guest-starred on This Is Us, playing Kate Pearson’s boss.
“As a viewer today, I prefer television,” she told Haute Living in 2013. “It’s some of the best writing out there. I think the movie business has become so expensive that we price ourselves out of telling a decent story. I feel for the moviegoer these days. How many of the same movie can you churn out? How many Die Hards can we see? I love Bruce Willis, don’t get me wrong, but where are the original ideas?”
Yes, she’s a sports fan herself.
Gertz isn’t a wife merely standing on the sidelines. She was proud to represent the Hawks last night and touted organizational changes brought on by her husband. (Ressler hired Travis Schlenk as general manager last year and they introduced Lloyd Pierce as their new head coach Monday.)
“I’m very excited,” Gertz told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We got one life. Why not be the one who gets to go be a lottery-pick [representative]? We’ve been the owners for three years now, and I feel like this is the first time we’ve taken ownership. With Lloyd and Travis being amazing hires, we are kind of like putting our stamp on it. Hopefully it will go my way [Tuesday] night, and I will continue to put my stamp on it.”
The Hawks landed the third overall pick, so things are looking up.
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