Net Worth: $2.1 billion
Source of Wealth: Music
A college dropout, David Geffen has come a long way since he forged a resume saying he was a UCLA graduate to get a job in the William Morris Agency mailroom. Geffen rose quickly rose through the ranks, specializing in music at the talent agency.
Using his contacts, Geffen began managing such performers as the late Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell, David Crosby and Cher. He founded a series of record companies, including Asylum and Geffen Records, which he quickly sold after building them into major players. These deals made him a billionaire and showed how tough and fearless he could be as a negotiator an art he learned from his mother, who ran a corset and bra business in Brooklyn.
Geffen took the gamble of partnering with two Hollywood titans, Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, to form DreamWorks SKG in 1994. To date, the dream remains a work in progress. DreamWorks' only unqualified blockbuster is the recent release "Deep Impact."
Even so, the shrewd Geffen, called Hollywood's richest man, doesn't have much to lose he is said to have invested a mere $33 million in DreamWorks.
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