Gores was born in Nazareth, Israel in 1954 and raised by his parents alongside his two brothers and three sisters. His older brother, Alec Gores, and his younger brother, Tom Gores, both founders of private equity firms, have been included on the Forbes list as among the wealthiest people in the world. In 1968, when Gores was 14, his parents sold their home and possessions to purchase plane tickets to immigrate to the United States. They settled near Flint, Michigan. Sam immediately went to work bagging groceries in an uncle’s supermarket, and worked his way through high school as a butcher. After graduating from Genesee High School, he began studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, and later graduated with the academy’s first class in Pasadena in 1976. Gores now serves on The American Academy of Dramatic Arts Board of Trustees.
After school, he worked without salary as an agent at The Gage Group, Inc., founded by Martin Gage, for almost two years while selling shoes on the side to support himself. Eventually, Gage brought Gores on staff. After several years at The Gage Group, Gores left to open his own agency, SGA Representation, and began to expand his business over time by acquiring other agencies. In 1986, SGA acquired The Jack Fields Agency and changed its name to Gores/Fields.
Gores represented Academy Award winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, and was described as “the most un-agent agent in the business because he’s a human being first,” by another one of his clients, Laurence Fishburne. Gores expanding his agency through acquisitions and mergers. By 1993, he had forged pacts with other agencies to form Paradigm, which now has clients that include Academy Award winning actor Adrien Brody, Emmy Award winner Julie Bowen, Emmy and Tony Award winner Fishburne and Antonio Banderas.
Paradigm moved into the former headquarters of MCA Inc. on Crescent Drive in Beverly Hills and expanded its list of customers to include a broad base of Hollywood, Broadway, literary, television and musical talent.
In 2005, Paradigm’s entered the music industry when it acquired Monterey Peninsula Artists and its roster of clients expanded to include The Black Eyed Peas, Aerosmith, Dave Matthews Band and Toby Keith. It later acquired New York-based Little Big Man, adding Coldplay and The Fray. As of 2014, Paradigm represents roughly 1,000 bands and artists, including Ed Sheeran, Fun., Janelle Monáe and Jason Mraz; and has grown to eight offices – Beverly Hills, Manhattan, Monterey, Nashville, Brooklyn, Austin, Hollywood, and London – and more than 300 employees.
Gores is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Recording Academy. Gores also serves on the Board of Directors for the Geffen Playhouse. He is also an active participant in Conservation International and is involved in Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish Arab Education in Israel which builds schools in Israel for both Jewish and Arab children, with the goal of promoting understanding and acceptance of all people, regardless of religious heritage.
Gores is father to three children and grandfather to one.