David Geffen: tycoon in music and movie industry
David Geffen is widely regarded as the wealthiest man in the U. S. film industry. A self-styled “boy from Brooklyn” who became a millionaire by the age of 25, the ambitious, energetic music and movie executive established a vast Hollywood-based empire. With Steven Spielberg2 and Jeffrey Katzen-berg3 , he cofounded DreamWorks, ensuring that he will continue to shape the world entertainment landscape into the next century.
An avid reader, Geffen was impelled toward an entertainment career by Hollywood Rajah4, the life story of movie mogul5 Louis B. Mayer. “I looked at these moguls and the world they created and figured it would be a fun way to make a living,” he told Forbes magazine7. Geffen took up music and drama in high school , where he also developed a reputation for his gregarious8 personality that would benefit him later in life. By 1998, his personal worth was valued at over $ 1 billion. Geffen, who is single and openly gay, lives out of a New York City apartment and a beach house in Malibu, California. He collects Tag Heuer Replica Watches fine art, but his major passion remains his work. He reportedly spends the majority of his day on the telephone, making deals and listening to creative pitches.
Upon graduating from high school in 1960, Geffen headed west, not to California, but to the University of Texas at Austin. He lasted only one semester until he flunked9 out with poor grades. He worked at a series of odd jobs in New York City before landing a position as an usher at the CBS-TV studio. He loved the job. “I got to watch them rehearse TV shows with people like Judy Garland10 and Red Skelton” ,” he said in a Forbes article, “and I was thinking, ‘Well, I’m not talented, what can I do?’ ” He worked his way up to a receptionist position on the CBS series The Reporters, but was fired after suggesting some script improvements to a producer. When the show’s casting director kingly remarked that Geffen might make a good agent, Geffen followed up on the idea. Looking through the Yellow Pages, he contacted the William Morris Talent Agency-the one with the biggest ad. He began with a job in the mailroom there in 1964. There he earned a week sorting letters, but quickly aspired to greater things. ” I’m delivering the mail to people’s offices,” he told The New Yorker “and I hear them on the phone, and I think I can do that. Talk on the phone. This I can do. “
In 1994, together with director Steven Spielberg and former Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, he cofounded DreamWorks, a movie studio and entertainment production company. Initially, Geffen was skeptical13 about getting back into the movie business full-time, but the creative opportunities proved too tempting to resist. “I thought, ‘ How can I turn this down?’ ” Geffen told Los Angeles magazine. “I’m 52 years-old, and if I don’t do this, I will get tired and lazy and bored. But being with these guys will keep me hanging onto a train that is going 300 miles an hour. “
As a recording industry and movie executive, Geffen has been influential in shaping popular culture-a position that has also earned him some significant criticism. A series of deadly shootings in American high schools in the late 1990s prompted’4 a public outcry that associated such shocking acts with the increased violence in contemporary movies and entertainment. When Presi-dent Clinton, in May 1999, urged the entertainment industry to tone down15 its emphasis on violence, Geffen responded “Why not blame the libraries? They’re full of violent books. ” In a telephone interview with The New York Times, Replica Watches Geffen went on to argue that any action to reduce children’s exposure to movie violence should not infringe on artistic freedom16. “Before you talk to people in music or entertainment or video games, or even gun control,” he said, “you need to talk to psychiatrists. “
Geffen’s personal worth has been estimated at well over billion. He donates much of his annual salary to the David Geffen Foundation , a charitable organization devoted to his favorite causes.
These include AIDS research, a crusade he has backed avidly since publicly announcing his homosexuality in the early 1980s18. Beyond making financial contributions, Geffen has lobbied19 Washington tirelessly on behalf of funding AIDS research and gay rights. In 1993, he took out full-page newspaper ads protesting President Clinton’s policy on gays in the military. Yet Geffen continues to support Democratic politicians, hosting a 1999 Hollywood bash20 that raised about .5 million for Democratic congressional candidates.
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