David Geffen is a legendary music, theater, and film mogul. He supports philanthropic causes through the David Geffen Foundation.
He has shaped popular culture for more than 30 years by launching the careers of many of the greatest performers of our time. His success in the entertainment business has come from his exceptional ability to spot and develop creative talent. Geffen began his career working in the mail room at the William Morris Agency, from which he rose rapidly to become an agent. In the 1960's Geffen brokered the deal for Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young to appear at Woodstock.
In 1971 Geffen founded Asylum Records, where he launched the careers of Jackson Browne and The Eagles and produced albums for stars including Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, and Joni Mitchell, whose song "Free Man in Paris" is a tribute to Geffen. In 1980, he formed Geffen Records, producing John Lennon's last album and fostering the careers of such artists as Cher, Bob Dylan, Ashlee Simpson, Aerosmith, Guns N' Roses, Nirvana, Weezer, and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.
In the 1980's Geffen was a backer of the musical Cats, which became the longest-running show on Broadway. During the same period, he founded the Geffen Film Company, producing films such as Beetlejuice, Little Shop of Horrors, and Risky Business, the film that launched Tom Cruise's career.
In 1994 Geffen partnered with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg to create DreamWorks SKG. DreamWorks won three consecutive best picture Oscars forAmerican Beauty (1999), Gladiator(2000), and A Beautiful Mind (2001). More than ten DreamWorks films have box office grosses totaling over $100,000,000.
Geffen is reputedly "one of the most brilliant dealmakers ever to work in Hollywood." He became a billionaire after selling Geffen Records in 1990 and is listed by Forbes Magazine as one of the world's wealthiest individuals.
Geffen has become known for his support of medical research, AIDS organizations, and the arts. His $200 million unrestricted gift to UCLA Medical School in 2002 was the largest bequest ever given to an American medical school. He has said, "I have no interest in making money any more. Everything I make in the entertainment business will go to charity."