Photo by Dreamworks
Photo by GLADD

David Geffen

Founder, Producer, Film Executive, Philanthropist


Founder, Producer, Film Executive, Philanthropist



Est. Net Worth

$8.2 billion Forbes


Lifestyle & Culture

What makes David Geffen a Global Shaker?

David Geffen is a powerful business magnate, producer, film executive, agent, manager and record-industry mogul, one of the most influential figures in the entertainment industry. He founded or co-founded Dreamworks Studios, Dreamworks Records, Asylum Records, Geffen Records, Geffen Pictures and DCG Records. With an estimated net worth of $8.2 billion, Forbes has deemed him to be the richest man in Hollywood.

In 1970, David co-founded Asylum Records, and in 1980, he founded Geffen Records. His labels have signed several of the most iconic rock legends and entertainers of all time, including Elton John, Cher, Sonic Youth, Aerosmith, Whitesnake, XTC, Peter Gabriel, Lone Justice, Blink-182, Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana, Bob Dylan, Donna Summer, Lifehouse, Tyketto, Pat Metheny, Sloan, the Stone Roses, Neil Young, the Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Olivia Newton-John, Tom Waits, Linda Ronstadt, Warren Zevon, Judee Sill, J.D. Souther, Asia with Steve Howe and John Wetton.

In a two-hour documentary about his life called Inventing David Geffen, he stated that breaking into the music industry is not what it used to be, saying, “I’d rather kill myself than get in the music business today.”

“You need repetition,” he explained, regarding the ability to sense the world’s next musical talent. “You need to be able to hear things a lot.”

Through Geffen Pictures, David produced Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Beetlejuice and Risky Business. He was the Broadway sponsor of Dreamgirls and Cats. In 1994, David founded Dreamworks Studios with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg. Dreamworks has produced over 10 movies that surpassed $100 million in the box office as well as several Academy Award winners for Best Picture.

As a philanthropist, he focuses on medical research, AIDS organizations, theatre and the arts. He’s also the largest donor in the University of California system. According to several sources, David has pledged to give all of his future earnings to charity.

David was a recipient of the Ahmet Ertegun Award from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010 and the President’s Merit Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 2011.

Tags: film, LGBTQ+, music, philanthropy

Last updated: June 12, 2020