David Geffen is being blasted for an Instagram post about self-isolating on his $590 million superyacht in the Caribbean. Here’s how Hollywood’s richest man spends his $7.7 billion fortune.

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Stephen Lovekin/Getty

Billionaire music and movie producer David Geffen is under fire for a “tone-deaf” Instagram post about isolating on his $590 million yacht in the Caribbean during the coronavirus pandemic, The Guardian reported.

On Saturday, Geffen posted photos showing his superyacht in the Grenadines with the caption, “Sunset last night. Isolated in the Grenadines avoiding the virus. I hope everybody is staying safe.” He faced almost immediate backlash on Twitter, where people called his post “shameful” and out of touch. He appears to have since deactivated his Instagram.

Geffen is the richest man in Hollywood, with an estimated $7.7 billion fortune, according to Forbes. He founded music label Geffen Records and cofounded movie studio DreamWorks SKG with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

The 77-year-old billionaire is known for cruising the seas on his 453-foot megayacht, Rising Sun, on which he’s hosted celebrity guests including Barack and Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Hanks.

Geffen owns a massive portfolio of real estate in New York and California, including a $54 million Manhattan penthouse and a $47.5 million Beverly Hills mansion built by one of the founders of Warner Bros. The billionaire reportedly has an art collection worth $2 billion.

Here’s a look at the Hollywood mogul’s life, career, and spending habits.


Movie and music producer David Geffen is worth an estimated $7.7 billion, making him the richest man in Hollywood, according to Forbes.

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REUTERS/Phil McCarten

The Brooklyn-born billionaire dropped out of college to join the entertainment industry, starting his career in the mailroom at William Morris Agency in Manhattan, where he worked his way up to being a talent manager, according to Bloomberg.


In 1971, he founded music label Asylum Records, where he signed artists like Jackson Browne.

After about a year, Geffen sold the label to Warner Communications for $7 million and proceeded to serve as the head of the merged Elektra/Asylum Records.


In the 1970s, Geffen had a high-profile relationship with singer Cher.

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Cher and David Geffen at legendary nightclub Studio 54 in 1986.
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Adam Scull/PHOTOlink/MediaPunch /IPX

Although Geffen later came out as gay, Cher said of the relationship in a 2012 interview: “At that point in his life, I was the right person for him.”


In the 1980s, Geffen ran his music label, Geffen Records.

High-profile artists signed to the label included John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Elton John, Donna Summer, Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith, Don Henley, Cher, and Peter Gabriel.

Geffen later sold the label to MCA for $550 million worth of stock.

A few months after that deal, Geffen made $700 million when MCA was bought by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd (which later became Panasonic), according to Bloomberg.


With the movie arm of his business, Geffen Pictures, Geffen produced films including “Risky Business,” “Beetlejuice,” and “Interview with a Vampire.”

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Tom Cruise in “Risky Business.”
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Warner Bros.

He also owned a Broadway theater company that produced shows such as “Cats” and “Dreamgirls.”


In 1994, Geffen cofounded movie studio DreamWorks SKG with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

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David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Steven Spielberg.
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REUTERS/Peter Morgan PM/HB

He left DreamWorks in 2008.


The 77-year-old billionaire owns millions of dollars worth of real estate in California. His primary home is reported to be the sprawling Jack Warner Estate in Beverly Hills.

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A Google Maps satellite view of the Jack Warner Estate.
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Google Maps

According to Variety, Geffen has lived at the Beverly Hills estate since 1990, when he bought it for $47.5 million.

The mansion is named for Jack Warner, the cofounder of Warner Bros, who built it in 1937.

The nine-acre property includes a 13,600-square-foot Georgian-style mansion, two guesthouses, a tennis court, swimming pool, nine-hole golf course, terraces and gardens, and a motor court with its own service garage and gas pump.


Geffen owns at least two other homes in Beverly Hills. In the spring of 2019, Geffen picked up a $4.65 million Beverly Hills house next door to one he already owned.

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A view of Beverly Hills in California.
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Google Maps

Geffen’s new 3,267-square-foot home comes with four bedrooms and a swimming pool.


And the billionaire continues to pick up Beverly Hills properties. Just last month, Geffen paid $30 million — for an empty, one-acre lot.

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A satellite view of Geffen’s $40 million lot.
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Google Maps

The lot sits in the Trousdale Estates neighborhood of Beverly Hills known as “Billionaires’ Row.”

It’s across the street from an extravagant mansion called “Opus” that was once listed for $100 million. The price has been cut to just under $60 million.


Until a couple of years ago, the billionaire also owned a beach house on Carbon Beach in Malibu, nicknamed “Billionaire’s Beach” for the ultra-wealthy residents who have called it home.

Geffen’s former property includes a main house, two guest homes, a pool and spa, gym, and a theater, as Business Insider’s Tanza Loudenback previously reported.

He sold the beach house in an off-market deal for a reported $85 million in 2017.


Geffen has quite the real-estate footprint in New York as well. He’s the owner of two condos, including a 12,000-square-foot triplex penthouse, in the Park Cinq, a luxury Fifth Avenue building near Central Park in Manhattan.

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The Park Cinq luxury condominium on Fifth Avenue.
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Google Maps

Geffen is the owner of the Park Cinq’s 12,000-square-foot triplex penthouse, which he bought for $54 million from socialite Denise Rich in 2012.

A couple of years later, he paid $2.3 million for another unit in the building, a one-bedroom on a middle floor.

And until recently, he had owned a third apartment in the building, a two-bedroom unit that he bought for $14.17 million in 2010. That one he sold in May 2018 to a Russian-American oil billionaire for $24.5 million.


In the Hamptons, the ritzy vacation destination for New York’s elite, Geffen owns a $70 million waterfront mansion.

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Google Maps

He bought the property in April 2016.


About two months later, news broke that Geffen had sold another 5.5-acre Hamptons property that he’d bought in 2014 for about $50 million.

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Google Maps

He sold it for $67.3 million.

The estate, which sits on coveted Georgica Pond, includes a seven-bedroom main house, an outdoor swimming pool, and a three-bedroom guesthouse.


Geffen is known for cruising the seas and hosting celebrity guests on his 453-foot superyacht, Rising Sun.

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Marques Hall/Wikimedia Commons

Geffen bought the yacht for $590 million from Oracle CEO Larry Ellison in 2010, according to Forbes. His guests have included Barack and Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Hanks.

Last summer, Geffen was pictured partying on his yacht with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Bezos’ girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, and model Karlie Kloss and her husband, Josh Kushner, in the Balearic Islands in Spain.

He also cruised in Mallorca with stars including Chris Rock, Orlando Bloom, and Katy Perry.

In March 2020 amid the coronavirus outbreak, the billionaire faced criticism for a “tone-deaf” Instagram post in which he shared photos of Rising Sun in the Grenadines with the caption, “Sunset last night. Isolated in the Grenadines avoiding the virus. I hope everybody is staying safe.”


Geffen reportedly had the yacht refitted over a six-month period.

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Geffen’s Rising Sun yacht.
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scottrsmith / Flickr

The yacht, which can accommodate 18 guests and a staff of 55 people, comes with a double-height cinema and a basketball court.


But Rising Sun isn’t the only superyacht Geffen has owned. In 2011, less than a year after buying Rising Sun, Geffen snapped up Pelorus, a 377-foot superyacht that he bought for $300 million from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

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The Pelorus yacht at anchor in Copenhagen in 2008.
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Wikimedia Commons/Share Alike/Casper Moller

The superyacht has two helicopter pads, a swimming pool with an artificial current, and a spa pool.

But Geffen didn’t keep Pelorus for long. Later that year, he sold it to the Royal Family of Abu Dhabi for 214 million euros, or about $284 million at the time.


Geffen has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to educational institutions, museums, and gay-rights causes.

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Frederick M. Brown/Getty

He established the David Geffen Foundation in 1986, which has focused its efforts on five main areas: populations affected by HIV/AIDS; civil liberties; the arts; issues of concern to the Jewish community; and health care.


After he donated $300 million to the University of California, Los Angeles, the university named its medical school after him.

It’s now the David Geffen School of Medicine.


In 2017, Geffen pledged $150 million to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

It was the largest single cash gift from a single person in the museum’s history, and the museum subsequently named its new building the David Geffen Galleries.

“It seemed as though, if I didn’t do it, it wasn’t going to get done – they’ve been attempting this for years and they couldn’t raise the money,” Geffen told The New York Times in an interview at the time. “I love art, I love L.A., and I could do it, so I did.”


Geffen, who came out as gay at an AIDS charity event in the 1990s, has also donated to AIDS and gay-rights causes.

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David Geffen and Joan Tisch at a gala benefit concert in New York City in 1997, where they were honored for their leadership in the fight against AIDS.
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Reuters

He’s made contributions to organizations including Gay Men’s Health Crisis, God’s Love We Deliver, and the Elton John AIDS Foundation, according to The New York Times.


Geffen has an art collection worth more $2 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg reports that Geffen has made “hundreds of millions of dollars” selling artwork by artists like Jackson Pollack, Jasper Johns, and David Hockney.

In 2006, Geffen sold two paintings by Jasper Johns and Willem de Kooning to hedge-fund billionaires Ken Griffin and Steve Cohen for a combined $143.5 million.

Ten years later, in 2016, Griffin bought another de Kooning painting and a Pollack painting from Geffen for $500 million total.

Geffen owned one of Hockney’s famous pool scene paintings for about 12 years. He sold it to British billionaire Joe Lewis in 1995, who kept it for years before selling it at a Christie’s auction for a record-breaking $90.3 million in 2018.