Even though he rarely appears on the covers, David Geffen is the man responsible for bringing some of our favorite music bands of the last decade. Over the years, the Business Moghul has signed with hotshot names in the music industry. The Eagles, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Tom Waits, these are just a few names that David has worked within his illustrious career. The American business magnate is a producer, film studio executive, and philanthropist. The man owns not one but three different music studios and is also a billionaire.
David Lawrence Geffen
Date of birth
February 21, 1943
Place of birth
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Reportedly married to Donovan Michaels
Drop out from the University of Texas at Austin and Brooklyn College
Business magnate, producer and film studio executive
$8 billion (as of September 16, 2023)
Asylum Records, Geffen Records, DGC Records and DreamWorks SKG
Notable artists signed by Geffen
Jackson Browne, Laura Nyro, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits and Guns N’ Roses
Notable films produced by Geffen
Beetlejuice, Little Shop of Horrors, Risky Business, and Interview with the Vampire
Notable shows financed by Geffen
Awards and honors received by Geffen
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, President’s Merit Award from the Recording Academy, Ahmet Ertegun Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame
Yacht owned by Geffen
Rising Sun, one of the world’s largest yachts
Art collection owned by Geffen
Includes works by Jasper Johns, Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock
The largest gift in the museum’s history
$150 million to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2017 by Geffen
Philanthropic causes supported by Geffen
education and arts
Controversies involving Geffen
Lying about having a college degree to get a job at William Morris Agency, suing Neil Young for making uncommercial music and feuding with Michael Eisner over DreamWorks’ distribution deal with Disney
Political affiliations of Geffen
Democratic Party donor and supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign
Previous partners of Geffen
Cher and Jeremy Lingvall
Health issues faced by Geffen
Dyslexia and presumed cancer
Hobbies of Geffen
Sailing, traveling and collecting art
David Geffen was born on the 21st of February 1943 in New York City, New York. David comes from humble backgrounds, his father Abraham Geffen, was a scholar, and his mother Batya, a corset maker. Both his parents were Jewish immigrants making David and his brother Mitchell second-generation Americans. After passing his matriculation from the New Utrecht High School in 1960, David enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin. After a year at Austin, David moved to Brooklyn College but dropped out once more. After moving to LA, David attended the Santa Monica College but couldn’t stay there either.
David began his career in the mail-room of the William Morris Agency. To land the job, David lied on his resume stating he graduated from UCLA. When letters eventually came from UCLA denying his claims, David modified the letters and started working as a talent agent. David later left WMA and started working as a personal manager. He quickly found work with Laura Nyro and Crosby, and Stills and Nash.
Inspired by his success, David opened Asylum Records in 1971 with Elliot Roberts. Their first signing was a young Jackson Browne. Distributed by Atlantic Records, Asylum records quickly became a safe haven for artists unable to find deals. In the years that followed David signed deals with the Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Linda Ronstadt, Warren Zevon, Judee Sill, and J.D. Souther. David left Asylum records in the late 1970’s and started working as vice chairman of Warner Bros. film studios. After retiring in 1977, David took a non-credit class at Yale that lasted until 1979.
After getting a second diagnosis for his presumed cancer, David was declared healthy. In 1980, he established Geffen Records and signed Donna Summer. In the following years, David also worked with John Lennon and Yoko Ono to release Lenon’s third album Double Fantasy. In the years that followed, David worked with several artists including Olivia Newton-John, Asia, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Elton John, Cher, Sonic Youth, Aerosmith, Whitesnake, XTC, Peter Gabriel, Lone Justice, Blink-182, Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana, Lifehouse, Tyketto, Pat Metheny, Sloan, the Stone Roses, and Neil Young. David sold the label to MCA records in 1990.
In 1982, David also founded the Geffen Film company which worked in movies like Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Risky Business (1983) and Beetlejuice (1988). David left the company in 2008.
David Geffen has an estimated net worth of about $8 billion as of 2023. He earned his fortune from his successful ventures in the entertainment and media industry, such as founding record labels Asylum Records, Geffen Records and DGC Records, as well as film studio DreamWorks SKG. He owns a number of luxury properties, including a mansion in Beverly Hills, California, that he sold to Jeff Bezos for $165 million in 2020. He also owns one of the world’s largest yachts, Rising Sun, which cost him $400 million.
David is openly gay. The billionaire came out way back in 1992, at a time when gay marriage was yet to be legalized by law. In 2006, David began dating Jeremy Lingvall. Jeremy who was a college student was 41 years younger than David. The relationship ran out of stem in 2012 and in the same year David was seen kissing ex-college football player Jamie Kuntz. The pair denied claims of relationship but Jamie continued to stalk David which led him to file a restraining order against Jamie. Jamie was arrested in 2014 for violating the order.
It is reported that David has recently tied the knot with his much younger partner, Donovan Michaels, in a secret ceremony. The 80-year-old exchanged vows with the 30-year-old former go-go dancer, with only two other couples as witnesses. The wedding came as a surprise to many, as Geffen has been notoriously private about his personal life.