30 Motivating Facts Everyone Should Know About David Geffen


David Geffen, the co-creator of Asylum Records in 1970, Geffen Records in 1980, DGC Records in 1990, and DreamWorks SKG in 1994, is famous for his contributions to various philanthropic activities, especially related to educational and research institutes. Here are some really interesting facts about the American business magnate:

  1.  He was honored with the President's Merit Award for "indelible contributions to the music industry" from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences at the 53rd Grammy Awards in February 2011.
  2.  He was named one of the recipients of Ahmet Ertegun Award from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in the year 2010.
  3.  His donation, along with Kenneth Langone's gift to New York University School of Medicine, till date, stands as the largest donation ever made to a medical school in the United States.
  4.  He donated $5 million towards UCLA's Westwood Playhouse in the year 1995, following which the theatre was renamed as the Geffen Playhouse.
  5.  He has reportedly pledged to give whatever money he makes from the year 2004 to charity, although he has not specified which charities or the manner of his giving.
  6.  In the year 2002, he has given $200 million unrestricted endowment for the School of Medicine at UCLA, following which the School was renamed David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
  7.  A decade later, he reportedly donated another $100 million on December 13, 2012, in addition to his 2002 donation of $200 million, making him the largest individual benefactor for the UC system.
  8.  He is said to have pledged $100 million toward renovation of what was then called Avery Fisher Hall, part of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, in the year 2015.
  9.  His gift reportedly amounted to about 20% of the hall's renovation costs, which gave him naming rights in perpetuity over the building, now known as David Geffen Hall.
  10.  He was an early supporter of Barack Obama for president and raised $1.3 million for Obama in a star-studded Beverly Hills fundraiser.
  11.  He was a big supporter of President Bill Clinton, but had a falling out with the former president over Clinton's decision not to pardon Leonard Peltier in the year 2001.
  12.  Geffen was featured as an important character in "Mailroom: Hollywood History From The Bottom Up" by David Rensen, "Mansion On The Hill" by Fred Goodman, and also in the "Hotel California" by Barney Hoskyns.
  13.  He is known to be a keen collector of American artists' work, including Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning. In fact, Paul Schimmel, the chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles claims that "There's no collection that has a better representation of post-war American art than David Geffen's."
  14.  He had reportedly sold two paintings by Jasper Johns and a De Kooning from his collection for a combined sum of $143.5 million in October 2006.
  15.  A month later, he sold Pollock's 1948 painting No. 5, 1948 from his collection for $140 million - around £73.35 million, to Mexican financier David Martinez, which made No. 5, 1948 the most expensive painting ever sold.
  16.  In June 2013, Wealth-X reported that Geffen owns the most valuable private art collection in the world, and estimated its worth at $1.1 billion at the time.
  17.  He sold De Kooning's 1955 oil painting, Interchanged, for $300 million, and Pollock's 1948 painting, Number 17A, for $200 million to Ken Griffin in February 2016.
  18.  He bought a half-share in the luxury yacht Rising Sun from Larry Elison in the year 2007. The said yacht was at that time the sixth largest in the world. Three years later, he bought the remaining half share from Ellison, when the latter bought a new compact yacht.
  19.  He bought the 115-meter (377 ft) yacht Pelorus from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's wife Irina in the year 2011 for $300 million, but sold it the same year to Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan for 214 million euros.
  20.  He has been a part of the "most famous Malibu battle" for beach access, which went on for three years, before ending with Geffen reaching a settlement with the Coastal Commission, granting the public a nine-foot-wide easement to the beach and reimbursing the state and non-profit groups $300,000 in legal fees.
  21.  David Lawrence Geffen was born on February 21, 1943 to Jewish immigrants who moved to United States - Abraham Geffen and Batya Volovskaya, in Borough Park, Brooklyn, New York. His mother was the owner of a clothing store named Chic Corsets by Geffen in their home town.
  22.  He attended the Brooklyn's New Utrecht High School in 1960, before joining the University of Texas at Austin for a semester, and then Brooklyn College, eventually dropping out. He even went to Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, California, but quit soon, attributing his challenges in school to dyslexia.
  23.  He started his entertainment career in the mailroom at the William Morris Agency (WMA), following a brief appearance as an extra in the "The Explosive Generation," the year 1961. For his job at WMA, he claimed to have graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Working in the mailroom in WMA, he reportedly intercepted a letter from UCLA which stated that he had not graduated and modified it to show that he had graduated.
  24.  Despite his success as a personal manager, it was when he was not able to find a record deal for the young Jackson Browne, that Ahmet Ertegun, the founder of Atlantic records, suggested Geffen to start his own record label.
  25.  This led to the establishment of Asylum Records in 1970, along with his colleague frmo WMA Elliot Roberts. He reportedly chose the name Asylum for the owners' reputations for signing artists who would struggle to find a record company that would contract with them.
  26.  In the year 1977, he was erroneously informed that he had cancer, following which he decided to retire from the entertainment industry, but three years later, a new medical diagnosis revealed the error in the original diagnosis, and was given a clean bill of health. This resulted in his return to the industry with Geffen Records.
  27.  He, along with celebrities like Steven Spielberg and Brad Pitt, had made donations in an effort to prevent Proposition 8 from becoming law in California.
  28.  He was the subject of an American Masters PBS television documentary entitled "Inventing David Geffen," directed by Susan Lacy and was first broadcasted on November 20, 2012.
  29.  He has also been the major subject of several books including the "The Operator: David Geffen Builds, Buys, and Sells the New Hollywood," by Tom King, and "The Rise and Rise of David Geffen" which is a biography by Stephen Singular.
  30.  He has been close friends with Joni Mitchell in the early 1970s, when he made a trip to Paris with Robbie Robertson and Robertson's wife, Dominique. This led to the Mitchell's famous book - "Free Man in Paris" about Geffen.
  31.  David Geffen Net Worth: $8.4 Billion

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