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Thursday, Jun 8, 2023


4) David Geffen (Up arrow)

Age: 56

Residence: Beverly Hills

Source of Wealth: Entertainment

Net Worth: $2.3 billion

Last Year’s Rank: 5

Background: Hasn’t slowed down since hustling himself out of William Morris Agency’s mailroom at age 20 and into the role of top music agent and manager. At 27, talked several major musical acts including the Eagles, Jackson Browne and Joni Mitchell into signing with his newly launched label, Asylum. Later sold out to Elektra, staying on as chairman until 1974. Became vice chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures for six years, only to return to music. Built up Geffen Records by signing Donna Summer, John Lennon, Guns N’ Roses and Aerosmith. Sold company to MCA in 1990, staying on as chairman and chief executive, and launched alternative-rock label. Currently spends most of his time at DreamWorks Records, a division of the studio he founded with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg in 1994.

Money Track: Became a billionaire primarily through building and selling record companies. Sold Geffen Records in 1990 to MCA for a reported $550 million.

Buzz: Has reputation as a kinder, gentler mogul for the ’90s as long as you’re on his side. Partner Katzenberg recently gushed that he’s like having an older brother. Notorious for crushing his enemies, however; has a vindictive side. DreamWorks Records has earned favor with music critics, but division has yet to earn similar support from music-buying public. Outside DreamWorks, Geffen still works on movies and plays. One of L.A.’s leading philanthropic figures; donates heavily to arts, Democratic causes and several AIDS-related organizations. Played big role in L.A. landing next year’s Democratic Convention.

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