David Geffen's far-reaching influence - as agent, manager, record industry mogul, Hollywood and Broadway producer, and philanthropist - has helped shape American popular culture for the past four decades. Notoriously press and camera-shy, Geffen reveals himself for the first time in the new two-hour documentary American Masters Inventing David Geffen premiering nationally Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings). Two-time Emmy-winning filmmaker, American Masters creator and executive producer Susan Lacy paints an unflinching portrait of Geffen, who narrates his unorthodox rise from working class Brooklyn Boy to billionaire entertainment power broker in extensive interviews.
American Masters explores the highs and the lows in Geffen's professional and personal life through more than 50 new interviews with his friends, colleagues and clients, as well as other media luminaries. Irving Azoff, Jackson Browne, Cher, David Crosby, Clive Davis, Barry Diller, Maureen Dowd, Rahm Emanuel, Nora Ephron, Tom Hanks, Don Henley, Arianna Huffington, Jimmy Iovine, Elton John, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Calvin Klein, Steve Martin, Lorne Michaels, Mike Nichols, Yoko Ono, Frank Rich, Slash, Steven Spielberg, Jann Wenner, Neil Young, and many others illustrate Geffen's riveting story filled with extraordinary achievements.
"It has been my great privilege to enter David's extraordinary world," says Lacy, writer, director and producer of American Masters Inventing David Geffen. "It's a world that touches every corner of the important, exciting artists and cultural explosions of my generation. Having David as a gracious and candid guide through this terrain was a wonderful personal experience and an absolute gift to any filmmaker."
"I've always thought that each person invented himself...that we are each a figment of our own imagination. And some people have a greater ability to imagine than others." -David Geffen
Starting out in the William Morris Agency mailroom in 1964, Geffen channeled his ambition by devoting himself to his work and perfecting the art of the deal. He launched the early successes of Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Jackson Browne, the Eagles, Tom Cruise in Risky Business (1983), and Guns N' Roses through his companies Geffen/Roberts Management, Asylum Records, Geffen Records, and Geffen Pictures. In 1994 he co-founded DreamWorks SKG with Spielberg and Katzenberg, the first new Hollywood studio in more than 50 years, which went on to release Oscar-winning Best Pictures American Beauty (1999), Gladiator (2000) and A Beautiful Mind (2001), as well as animated features, including the Shrek franchise. Geffen also produced the Broadway musicals Cats (1982) and Dreamgirls (1981), and helped realize the Golden Globe-winning 2006 film adaptation. Witty and self-aware, Geffen admits, "I have no talent except for being able to enjoy and recognize it in others."