Geffen was born on 21st February 1943 in New York City to Jewish immigrant parents. He went to New Utrecht High School after which he attended the Santa Monica College for a short while. He did not stay in any particular school for long; he spent brief periods of time at Brooklyn College and the University of Texas before dropping out. David Geffen was an avid reader and so was driven towards a career in entertainment. He was highly inspired by movie moguls such as Louis B. Mayer. But before he made a name for himself he also worked odd jobs moving on quickly from one job to the other unsatisfied. Finally he landed a job at the CBS TV studio which got his interest. However he got fired after he suggested some changes in the script. From there he worked his way up taking up a job at the William Morris Talent Agency as a mail deliverer. Despite the little success he had in life, he still aspired for greater things.
Geffen started building relationships with people in the music industry and after a year he was promoted to the position of junior agent at the William Morris Talent Agency. While he was managing Laura Nyro’s career he made several other important contacts. Geffen made his first million dollars in 1960. A decade later he founded Asylum Records along with his friend Elliot Roberts. He signed some of the most popular rock and roll artists of the 70s such as Jackson Browne, The Eagles and Linda Ronstadt. In 1971 he sold Asylum Records to Warner Communications which was one of the biggest deals of the music industry. He remained the President of the company during the merger of the company with Elektra, the Warner label. He signed big artists including Joni Mitchell, The Band and Bob Dylan becoming a significant figure in the recording industry. In 1975 the chief at Warner Communications Steve Ross offered David Geffen to take up the position of vice chairman of Warner Brothers Pictures. Even though he had no experience in the movie business he agreed. Geffen returned to his first passion, the music industry in 1980. He co-founded Geffen Records and took on new talent which later on became massive hits such as Elton John, John Lennon and Donna Summer. Geffen created the Geffen Film Company and produced comedies such as Risky Business, Beetlejuice and Little Shop of Horrors. He co-founded the DreamWorks SKG in 1994 along with Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg.
Geffen is also a notable philanthropist; he supports AIDS organization, medical research, theatre and arts. He donated 200 million dollars to the School of Medicine at UCLA which was then renamed the David Geffen School of Medicine. Geffen was given the Ahmet Ertegun Award by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. He was also given the President’s Merit Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 2011. With a net worth of $5.5 billion, David Geffen is one of the wealthiest people of the entertainment world.