On the Stage, Behind the Scenes and In the Audience
One of the most respected and influential executives in the entertainment industry, David Geffen is a principal partner of DreamWorks SKG, which before it was sold to Paramount Pictures in 2006, was the first new studio to be formed in over 50 years. Together with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, Geffen founded DreamWorks SKG in October 1994. In October of 2004, Dreamworks Animation spun off to form a publicly traded company. Geffen served on the Board of DreamWorks Animation and was the Chairman of DreamWorks Studios, while it was at Paramount. Over the course of his distinguished career, Geffen has made an indelible mark on the arenas of film, theatre and, most notably, music. Born in Brooklyn, Geffen started out at the age of 20 in the mailroom of the William Morris Agency in New York, later becoming an agent and a manager for a number of top talents. He launched the Asylum label in 1971 by signing many of the discoveries he had made as a manager, including Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. In 1974, lured by the challenge of movie making, Geffen joined Warner Bros. Pictures as Vice Chairman. During his tenure, he helped put into production such hits as Oh God! and The Late Show. Six years later, he returned to music to form Geffen Records, quickly building a superstar artist roster that included John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Elton John, Donna Summer, Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith, Don Henley, Cher, and Peter Gabriel. Following the sale of Geffen Records to MCA in 1990, Geffen remained its Chairman and CEO and inaugurated another label, DGC, which earned success with Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Counting Crows, Hole, and Beck. David Geffen has also made significant contributions to the screen and stage. His motion picture company, Geffen Pictures, produced such diverse films as Personal Best,Beetlejuice,Interview With the Vampire,Risky Business,Little Shop of Horrors, and Lost in America. Geffen’s theater company was responsible for several of Broadway’s most celebrated musicals, including the Tony Award-winning Cats,Dreamgirls,Little Shop of Horrors, and M. Butterfly. Most recently in December of 2006 he helped bring the Golden Globe winning musical Dreamgirls to the big screen. Geffen’s professional successes enable him to generously support charitable organizations important to him. His recent donation to the UCLA School of Medicine is the single largest donation of its kind to a U. S. medical school. Geffen was an industry leader in the fight against AIDS, rallying community support and making substantial personal contributions in the early years of the epidemic. He has been a major benefactor to such groups as AIDS Project Los Angeles, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, amFAR, God’s Love We Deliver, and Project Angel Food. As a patron of the arts, David Geffen has made substantial gifts to the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Spelman and Morehouse College arts education programs, the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, and the USC School of Cinema-Television. Numerous other charities receive funding from his private foundation, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, the Children’s Diabetes Foundation, Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, The American Society for Yad Vashem, and Save the Children.