A multi-millionaire by 1972 and a billionaire by 1995, Geffen became one of the earliest - and consistently one of the largest - contributors to the fight against HIV/AIDS. Through his philanthropic efforts and media heavyweight status, Geffen became an important political voice, first as an early supporter of Bill Clinton and later for Barack Obama, helping harness early support in the creative community during his 2008 presidential campaign.
Notorious for his fierce loyalty, bluntness and chutzpah, Geffen has not avoided conflict or controversy. American Masters Inventing David Geffen addresses his rifts with Laura Nyro, the Eagles, and the Clintons, his lawsuit against Neil Young, his unsuccessful stint at Warner Bros. Pictures, his whirlwind romance with Cher, and his struggles with cancer, homosexuality, and the AIDS-related deaths of his friends, including Michael Bennett. In 2010 Geffen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2011 he received the GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons®President's Merit Award.
Since its 1986 premiere, American Masters has earned 24 Emmy Awards – including 8 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series since 1999 and 5 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special – the 2012 Producers Guild Award, 12 Peabodys, an Oscar, and 3 Grammys. Now in its 26th season on PBS, the series is a production of THIRTEEN for WNET, the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21, New York's public television stations, and operator of NJTV. For 50 years, THIRTEEN has been making the most of the rich resources and passionate people of New York and the world, reaching millions of people with on-air and online programming that celebrates arts and culture, offers insightful commentary on the news of the day, explores the worlds of science and nature, and invites students of all ages to have fun while learning.
American Masters Inventing David Geffen is a production of THIRTEEN's American Mastersfor WNET. Susan Lacy is writer, director, producer, American Masters series creator and executive producer. Jessica Levin is producer.
To take American Masters beyond the television broadcast and further explore the themes, stories and personalities of masters past and present, the companion website (http://pbs.org/americanmasters) offers streaming video of select films, interviews, essays, photographs, outtakes, and other resources.
American Masters is made possible by the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional funding for American Mastersis provided by Rosalind P. Walter, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Rolf and Elizabeth Rosenthal, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Jack Rudin, Vital Projects Fund, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation, and public television viewers. Additional support for this program is provided by the Ziff Family.
In 2012, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York's flagship public media provider. As the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children's programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state's unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and the new online newsmagazineMetroFocus.
Photo courtesy of PBS