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Arts & Culture

AMERICAN MASTERS: Inventing David Geffen

David Geffen, circa 1972.
Courtesy of Joel Bernstein
David Geffen, circa 1972.

Airs Friday, Sept. 30, 2016 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

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.

Joni Mitchell, Mama Cass (background), and David Geffen
Courtesy of Henry Diltz
Joni Mitchell, Mama Cass (background), and David Geffen
David Geffen
Courtesy of WNET/ American Masters
David Geffen

He launched the early successes of Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Jackson Browne, , 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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