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American Masters: Inventing David Geffen

Airs Friday, May 31, 2013 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: David Geffen, circa 1972.

Notoriously press and camera-shy, David Geffen reveals himself for the first time in this unflinching portrait of a complex and compelling man. His far-reaching influence — as agent and manager, record industry mogul, Hollywood and Broadway producer, and billionaire philanthropist — has helped shape American popular culture for the past four decades.

Courtesy of WNET/ American Masters

David Geffen

Courtesy of Henry Diltz

Joni Mitchell, Mama Cass (background), and David Geffen

He launched the early successes of Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Jackson Browne, Tom Cruise, and Guns N’ Roses; he co-founded DreamWorks, the first new Hollywood studio in more than 50 years; he produced "Cats" and "Dreamgirls"; he is one of the largest contributors to the fight against AIDS; and he has become an important political voice.

This dealmaker extraordinaire is witty, self-aware and candid. He and everyone from Yoko Ono and Cher, Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd, Stephen Spielberg and Barry Diller, David Crosby and Neil Young, Elton John and Rahm Emanuel illuminate his rich and riveting story.

“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

This program originally aired in 2012.

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Preview: American Masters: Inventing David Geffen

Above: Notoriously press and camera-shy, David Geffen reveals himself for the first time in this unflinching portrait of a complex and compelling man. His far-reaching influence — as agent and manager, record industry mogul, Hollywood and Broadway producer, and billionaire philanthropist — has helped shape American popular culture for the past four decades.

Inventing David Geffen: Sunset Blvd.

American Masters: Inventing David Geffen, premiers nationally on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 on PBS (check local listings). It’s an unflinching portrait of Geffen, who narrates his unorthodox rise from working class Brooklyn boy to billionaire entertainment power broker in extensive interviews.

Inventing David Geffen: Always About the Song

American Masters: Inventing David Geffen, premiers nationally on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 on PBS (check local listings). It’s an unflinching portrait of Geffen, who narrates his unorthodox rise from working class Brooklyn boy to billionaire entertainment power broker in extensive interviews.

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American Masters: Inventing David Geffen: The Draft

Above: David Geffen reflects on the choices he made when confronted with going to Vietnam while working at the William Morris Agency in New York, and ultimately his decision to reveal that he was gay at the draft board in Brooklyn.

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American Masters: Inventing David Geffen: Focus Focus Focus

Above: Like the title of the film says, David Geffen didn’t just happen–he was his own invention. And, that took focus, focus, focus… Hear his friends and colleagues — Tom Hanks, Jon Landau, and Tim Burton, among them — talk about just what kind of focus Geffen has.