Growing up in a predominantly Cuban community in Los Angeles, Ozzie and Will Areu never would have dreamed they would become media executives running a film and television empire.
When they were just teenagers, their father died suddenly of a brain aneurysm and all of their attentions turned toward helping their mother. “There were four of us and we did what families do, we rallied,” Will said.
At 22, Ozzie got a job as a security guard at Warner Bros. studios. He was soon promoted from guarding a parking lot to heading security on the set of the TV show, Friends. That’s where he met actress Jennifer Aniston, who eventually helped him land a job as Brad Pitt’s personal assistant. Five years later, he became Ellen DeGeneres’ executive assistant and in 2007, he was hired by Tyler Perry.
For the first year, Ozzie commuted from Los Angeles to Atlanta, where Perry was based. But the cross-country commute took a toll and his brother encouraged him to move.