David Geffen, The Most Powerful
Gay Billionaire

David Geffen Net Worth :  $6 Billion 

David Geffen is a renowned musician, actor and philanthropist. This self-made billionaire has an estimated net worth of $6 billion, which he gained through his music and acting careers. He was born on 21st February, 1943 in Borough Park, Brooklyn, New York to Jewish immigrants. Geffen started off his entertainment career by faking a degree from UCLA to get a job at William Morris Agency. While working in the mailroom, he met Elliot Roberts, who later became his business partner in a management company. Later on, Geffen stopped working at William Morris and became a personal manager. 

At the time that Geffen was in the process of searching for a record deal for Jackson Browne, Ahmet Ertegun, who is the founder of Atlantic Records, suggested that Geffen set up his own company. In 1970, Geffen established Asylum Records together with Elliot Roberts. At the time, Atlantic Records distributed Asylum Records. Asylum managed to sign up artists such as J.D Souther, Judee Sill, Linda Ronstadt, Tom Waits, Warren Zevon, Joni Mitchell, Eagles Joni and Bob Dylan. Warner Communications, which is Atlantic’s mother company, acquired Asylum. In 1972, Asylum was merged with Elektra Records, becoming Elektra/Asylum Records.

In the year 1980, Geffen established Geffen Records and signed up Ed Rosenblatt, who served as Warner Bros. Records Exec., as the president. Donna Summer was the first artist to be signed on Geffen Records. Warner Bros. Records remained the label’s distributor from its inception till 1990, when Geffen Records was sold to MCA Records. The label was sold for $550 million, and Geffen continued managing the label before leaving in 1995.  In the same year Geffen teamed up with Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg, where they raised $2 billion to start DreamWorks SKG studio. He left the studio in the year 2008. Geffen owns a considerable holding in Apple together with a large bond portfolio and a small stake in DreamWorks Animation. 

Besides being renowned for his business activities, Geffen is also known for his philanthropic endeavors. He has contributed millions of money towards various charitable organizations, and has supported various causes towards AIDs organizations, medical research, theater and the arts. In the year 1995, he made a donation of $5 million in support of UCLA’s Westwood Playhouse, which was later renamed the Geffen Playhouse.

In late 2012, Geffen pledged $100 million for creating the David Geffen’s medical scholarship fund. The fund covers every cost incurred for medical education for schools’ best performing students. A decade earlier, Geffen had given $200 million to a medical school which was named in his honor.  Due to the above donations, Geffen was announced to be the largest individual benefactor to the UC system.

Geffen is also an avid art collector of American artist’s work, including Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock. In 2006, he sold 2 paintings by Willem de Kooning and Jasper John for a combined sum of $143.5 million. Geffen is openly gay, and he appeared first on the list of the Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America by Out Magazine in 2007.

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References:

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