David Geffen

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a David Geffen
David Geffen



David Lawrence Geffen (born February 21, 1943) is an American business magnate, producer, film studio executive, and philanthropist. Geffen created or co-created Asylum Records in 1970, Geffen Records in 1980, DGC Records in 1990, and DreamWorks SKG in 1994. His donations to the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and other educational and research donations have widened his fame beyond the entertainment industry.

Geffen Film/DreamWorks SKG

Through the Geffen Film Company, Geffen produced dark-tinged comedies such as (the 1986 version of) Little Shop of Horrors, Risky Business and Beetlejuice. Geffen was the Broadway backer for the musicals Dreamgirls and Cats. In 1994, Geffen co-founded the DreamWorks SKG studio with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg. In 2008, Geffen left DreamWorks.


He was an early financial supporter of President Bill Clinton. In 2001 he had a falling out with the former president over Clinton's decision not to pardon Leonard Peltier, on whose behalf he had lobbied the President.

Geffen was an early supporter of Barack Obama for president and raised $1.3 million for Obama in a star-studded Beverly Hills fundraiser. On February 21, 2007, in an interview with Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, Geffen described Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton in unflattering terms: "Everybody in politics lies, but they do it with such ease, it's troubling." He said that Hillary Clinton was "incredibly polarizing" and described Bill Clinton as "reckless" and cast doubt on those who say he has become a different person since leaving office.

Along with other celebrities including Steven Spielberg and Brad Pitt, Geffen donated money to try to prevent Proposition 8 from becoming law in California.

Personal life

Geffen has an estimated net worth of $6 billion, making him one of the richest people in the entertainment industry.

He is gay. In May 2007, Out magazine ranked Geffen first in its list of the fifty "Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America".

Joni Mitchell and Geffen were close friends and, in the early 1970s, made a trip to Paris with Robbie Robertson and Robertson's wife, Dominique. As a result of that trip, Mitchell wrote "Free Man in Paris" about Geffen.

Geffen can be heard on Barbra Streisand's The Broadway Album, released in 1985. The track "Putting It Together" features Geffen, Sydney Pollack, and Ken Sylk portraying the voices of record company executives talking to Streisand. He resides in Malibu, California.

Geffen is the subject of several books, most recently The Operator: David Geffen Builds, Buys, and Sells the New Hollywood (2001) by Tom King, who initially had Geffen's cooperation, but later did not. An earlier biography was The Rise and Rise of David Geffen (1997) by Stephen Singular. He is also a featured character in Mailroom: Hollywood History From The Bottom Up by David Rensen, in Mansion On The Hill by Fred Goodman, in Hotel California by Barney Hoskyns, and in several books about Michael Ovitz.

He was the subject of an American Masters PBS television documentary entitled Inventing David Geffen. The documentary was directed by Susan Lacy and was first broadcast on 20 November 2012.

His older brother Mitchell (born Mischa) Geffen (1933–2006) was an attorney who attended UCLA Law School and later settled in Encino, California. Mitchell Geffen fathered two daughters, who are David's closest surviving relatives.

Art collection

Geffen is a keen collector of American artists' work, including Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning. According to the chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Paul Schimmel: "There's no collection that has a better representation of post-war American art than David Geffen's."

In October 2006, Geffen sold two paintings by Jasper Johns and a De Kooning from his collection for a combined sum of $143.5 million. On November 3, 2006, the New York Times reported that Geffen had sold Pollock's 1948 painting No. 5, 1948 from his collection for $140 million (£73.35 million) to Mexican financier David Martinez. Martinez is the founder of London-based Fintech Advisory Ltd, a financial house that specializes in buying Third World debt. The sale made No. 5, 1948 the most expensive painting ever sold (outstripping the $134 million paid in October 2006 for Gustav Klimt's portrait Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, purchased by cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder). Wealth-X reported in June 2013 that Geffen owns the most valuable private art collection in the world, and estimated its worth at $1.1B at the time.

In February 2016, Bloomberg News reported that Geffen had sold De Kooning's 1955 oil painting, “Interchanged," for $300 million, and Pollock’s 1948 painting, “Number 17A," for $200 million, both to hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin.

Additional Relevant Facts

Intimidated Male Escort

From the Smoking Gun article, Male Escort Told FBI He Feared David Geffen, published on July 9th 2015:[1]

A gay porn star who moonlighted as a paid escort recently told FBI agents that he did not want to discuss details of his relationship with David Geffen because the billionaire was very powerful, adding that his hesitance grew out of fear for his own safety, according to a court transcript.

Appearing yesterday as a government witness at the extortion trial of another porn star/hooker, Justin Griggs referred to Geffen, 72, during his cross-examination by Ashfaq Chowdhury, defense lawyer for Teofil Brank. Brank, 25, is accused of extorting $500,000 and an auto from tycoon Donald Burns in return for keeping details of their paid sexual liaisons secret.

During his testimony in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Griggs (seen at right) told jurors that the 51-year-old Burns flew him--and other young men--to his homes in Nantucket and Palm Beach, where he was paid for sex. “It was really just hanging out, surfing, grilling out, going to dinner, and then we would have sex, group sex,” Griggs testified. The following morning, Griggs added, Burns gave the imported talent envelopes with cash.

Relationship to #Pizzagate

Connection to Bill Clinton

Earliest Connection

The earliest reference of the friendship (or at least close working relationship) between Bill Clinton and Geffen is in 1993.

From the New York Times article, David Geffen, Still Hungry, by Bernard Weinraub, published on May 2nd, 1993:[2]

Politically, the 5-foot-7 1/2, 148-pound Geffen is carving out a a powerful role comparable to the one played for many years in Hollywood by Lew R. Wasserman, the 80-year-old chairman of MCA. Wasserman, whom Geffen greatly admires, served as an adviser to Democratic Presidents and wielded enormous clout beyond his base in the entertainment industry. He was a behind-the-scenes kingmaker whose Beverly Hills home served as a virtual station of the cross for national political candidates. Geffen is already considered the Clinton Administration's Lew Wassserman.

Falling Out


Connection to alleged statutory rapist, Ronald Burkle

From Forbes article, The Six Degrees of Ron Burkle, by Matthew Miller, published on November 22, 2006:[4]

Geffen, Burkle’s neighbor in Beverly Hills, introduced Burkle to investor Eddie Lampert in 2002. Burkle nearly became Lampert’s partner in the bankruptcy buyout of Kmart before pulling out at the last minute. Burkle and Geffen are likely headed for a showdown in the battle for the Los Angeles Times. Geffen has yet to bid on the paper or its parent company, Tribune. But word is he’s angling for it.

Connection to Digital Entertainment Network

Investor.[5] All victims said investors participated in the parties.(See the documentary, An Open Secret for more)

Connection to Leonardo DiCaprio


Connection to Michael Ovitz

Connection to Michael Jackson

From People magazine article, All Bad Things Come to An End as a Tearful Michael Jackson Bids Bye-Bye to the Highway, by Steve Dougherty and Todd Gold, published on February 13th, 1989:[7]

Not that Jackson plans to drop out of sight “He’ll do a live show every so often,” Dileo says. “But he’s not going to tour again. He didn’t tour with Thriller and sold nearly 40 million copies. He didn’t tour with Off the Wall, and that did pretty well too. I don’t think Mike’s going to have a problem. It’s time to do something else.”

Industry bets are on a movie career. “He won’t suffer at all,” says producer and longtime Jackson friend David Geffen. “He just bought a ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, which he probably wants to enjoy. And he wants to make records and movies.” Though Geffen has tried and failed to come up with a film project for Michael, he believes the star will find a script “Michael’s very specific in his tastes. You can’t just cast him in anything,” says Geffen. “But he’s a hard worker, and his talent is a given. Michael’s not the sort you’d bet against”

Flowers During Illness: [8]

Falling Out

From the New York Post article, Maids reveal Michael Jackson’s filth and perversion, by Stacy Brown, published on August 10th, 2014:[9]

[Jackson] also kept a dartboard in the foyer of his bedroom with pictures of DreamWorks founders Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg — who he believed had stolen his idea for the studio and even its boy-on-the-moon logo.

“Any of the children he played with who hit the bull’s-eye would get extra ice cream or anything else they wanted,” said Maid No. 3, who worked from 1996 to 1999. “He hated those guys with a passion. He was surprisingly very anti-Semitic. He’d lead some of the kids in chants: ‘Kill the bastards,’ and ‘Kill the bloodsuckers.’ ”

Connection to the film, Beetlejuice

David Geffen produced the film.[10] It was produced by the Geffen Company.[11]

Tim Burton

Jeffrey Jones

Danny Elfman


Purchase the Press

From the Huffington Post's Eat the Press article, Suitors Line Up for Tribune Company, Or Pieces Thereof, published on November 13th, 2006:[12]

David Geffen, who made an informal offer for the Los Angeles Times this summer (payable in cash) has so far not re-entered the fray.

External Links