Weekend reads

Ex-Angeleno David Geffen is at home in NYC

DavidGeffen-name-tag.jpgDavid Geffen made his money and his reputation in Los Angeles, but a weekend profile in the New York Times makes clear how resolutely the Brooklyn-born Geffen has returned to his roots. He originally moved away from New York the day after high school graduation, and here in LA built a life that famously included Asylum and Geffen Records, Laura Nyro, the Eagles, an affair with Cher, DreamWorks and his name on the Westwood Playhouse, the UCLA medical school and the Geffen Contemporary art museum downtown. In New York, he lives in a 20-room penthouse on Fifth Avenue, watches movies with neighbor Wendi Deng Murdoch (ex-wife of Rupert Murdoch), is making over a house in East Hampton, and recently made a sizable donation that got his name on the former Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center.

“David got bored with Los Angeles a long time ago,” says magazine editor and Daily Beast founder Tina Brown in the NYT story. He sold his Malibu beach home and the Malibu Beach Inn on Pacific Coast Highway. He kept the 10-acre Jack Warner estate in Beverly Hills, but "he spends more time in New York or on his 453-foot yacht (reportedly one of the largest in the world), the Rising Sun."

From the NYT piece:

When Mr. Geffen is not in New York, he is often sailing the Caribbean aboard the Rising Sun, seated in a deck chair, legs propped up on an ottoman, reading. He has a voracious appetite for biographies and thrillers. (Ms. Murdoch said he recommended that she read “The Path to Power,” the first volume of Robert Caro’s four-volume “The Years of Lyndon Johnson.”)

He acquired the yacht from the Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison. It is built to accommodate 18 guests and a staff of about 50. Because of its size, it is tracked online by maritime websites (it was recently docked at Carriacou, one of the Grenadine Islands).

Peggy Siegal, the doyenne of New York publicists, had lunch aboard the vessel with Mr. Geffen in St. Barth’s over the New Year’s holiday. “He likes to greet each guest himself,” she said. She was asked to climb several flights of stairs to the top deck, despite the elevator onboard. “He is waiting for you,” she said, “arms outstretched, while you are gasping for air.”

Simply put: Mr. Geffen imports his own entertainment. Last August, Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King were photographed sunbathing aboard the Rising Sun near Ibiza, along with the record producer Jimmy Iovine and Bob Iger, chief executive of the Walt Disney Co. On another trip, Bruce Springsteen was shooting hoops on the ship’s full-size basketball court, while Tom Hanks strummed a guitar, friends said. And Ms. Murdoch said she heard Steve Martin sing and play the banjo after supper.

The story includes an unusual correction: a quote by Diane von Furstenberg that was correctly transcribed, but she felt she misspoke and was permitted to change her quote after publication.

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Ex-Angeleno David Geffen is at home in NYC