2017年2月5日 星期日

Rupert Murdoch, David Geffen

The Guardian

8 小時
Senior executives from Rupert Murdoch-owned companies met the British prime minister or chancellor 10 times in a year – more than any other media organisation, according to a new analysis.
Murdoch executives met PM or chancellor 10 times in a year - more than…

Man in the News: David Geffen

By Matthew Garrahan 2009-05-20

Hollywood lore has it that when David Geffen got his first job in the mail room at the William Morris talent agency in New York, he lied about having a university degree.
It was 1964 and a degree was one of the conditions of employment so Mr Geffen told his bosses he had studied at the University of California, Los Angeles. When a letter from UCLA arrived casting doubt on his claim, he intercepted it in the mailroom, steaming it open and substituting its contents with a forgery. It was a daring act and had he been caught he would have been fired. Yet the extent of his later achievements suggest that not even rejection from William Morris would have derailed his path to success.
A billionaire many times over, the 66-year-old was this week linked with a bid for The New York Times. This adds an interest in newspapers to a career in which he has dominated the music industry, produced a string of Broadway shows, launched DreamWorks SKG – the first truly independent film studio in decades – and accumulated one of the world's most impressive collections of modern art.

His upbringing was a far cry from his billionaire lifestyle. He was born in Brooklyn, the son of a Polish father and Russian mother. His mother, Batya, owned a corset store; his father, Abraham, was a pattern maker in the garment trade. The family was not well off but his mother gave him a work ethic and was prone to sayings such as: “If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.” Mr Geffen is also fond of the maxim, says Jeffrey Katzenberg, a friend for 35 years and his partner, along with Steven Spielberg, in the creation of DreamWorks SKG. “He was influenced tremendously by his mother and will often quote her,” says Mr Katzenberg.
Mr Geffen scraped through high school and tried a term at the University of Texas before Hollywood beckoned. At 19, he got a job as an usher at CBS Television City where, on his first day, he was assigned to The Judy Garland Show. From there, he went back to New York and William Morris, where his contemporaries included Larry Gagosian, the renowned art dealer, and Barry Diller, who would become a friend and go on to run Rupert Murdoch's Fox.
Work in the mailroom was tough and Mr Geffen later recalled having to fill the soap dispensers and change the toilet paper. But the agency taught him some vital lessons, such as how to form relationships and win trust. In David Rensin's 2003 book about the agency, The Mailroom, Mr Geffen recalls learning how to “read the room ... I took mental notes on everything”.
Mr Katzenberg, who was Mr Diller's assistant when he first met Mr Geffen, says his friend has an uncanny ability to absorb large amounts of information, quickly retaining what is important. But success has come on his own terms. “One of the things that is so fascinating about him is that he isn't a type-A personality who has to get up very early every day and have a very full agenda,” says Mr Katzenberg. “It's not the way to get the greatest value out of him – and he knows that.”
By his mid-20s Mr Geffen was a millionaire thanks to the sale of a music publishing company he half-owned. He made a bigger impact in 1970 with the launch of Asylum Records, which nurtured acts including The Eagles and Joni Mitchell. The end of the 1970s was harder: he was misdiagnosed with cancer and did not work for several years. But he came back in 1980 with the launch of Geffen Records, which launched the careers of Guns N'Roses and Nirvana.
Geffen Records propelled him into the realms of the super rich. A decade after its launch, he sold the label to Lew Wasserman's MCA Hollywood studio, receiving shares that would eventually net him $700m when MCA was acquired by Matsushita of Japan.
In the 1970s Mr Geffen had a long relationship with the singer-songwriter Cher. But two years after the sale of MCA, he publicly clarified his sexuality as gay. It was a relief, the designer Calvin Klein, his friend, told an interviewer in 1993. “Gay men are not necessarily thought of as the shrewdest businessmen in the world. He felt he should do this publicly as well as for himself.”
And yet, as a businessman, few rival Mr Geffen. With the proceeds of the MCA sale his fortune grew ever larger from investments in art, shares and property. His art collection is worth an estimated $2bn and includes works by David Hockney, Jasper Johns and Willem de Kooning. Three years ago he sold a Jackson Pollock for a record $140m.
He has expensive tastes in property, spending $47.5m on a Beverly Hills house built by Jack Warner, the Hollywood mogul who co-founded Warner Brothers. Yet he has also become a generous philanthropist, donating $200m to the UCLA School of Medicine and millions more to Aids-related causes. When he launched DreamWorks he promised to devote the money he generated from it to charity.
He also carries significant political clout, thanks to years raising money and hosting fundraisers for Democratic candidates. Mr Geffen raised millions for Bill Clinton's presidential campaign and twice stayed at the White House as his guest. But the two fell out when President Clinton pardoned Marc Rich, the fugitive financier. In last year's election Mr Geffen switched his allegiance to Barack Obama, delivering a highly damaging blow to the Hillary Clinton campaign via a New York Times interview. “Everybody in politics lies,” he told the interviewer, “but [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it's troubling.”
Politically, he is a firm liberal but his friends include Rupert Murdoch. He practises yoga and is fiercely loyal but also ruthless: he is unafraid to take people on who he believes have wronged him or his friends. Most recently, he clashed with Brad Grey, chairman of Paramount, the studio that bought DreamWorks, over the credit – or lack of it – DreamWorks was receiving for its films. He also had a long-running feud with Michael Ovitz, the former super-agent who had a short-lived spell as the second in command at Walt Disney.
Given the gloomy state of the newspaper industry, his self-belief and verve may appeal to the Ochs-Sulzberger family that controls The New York Times. “If you want to succeed, you'd better not care too much about what other people think about what you're doing,” Mr Geffen says in The Mailroom. “I was ambitious. Some people thought: who is this guy? He didn't go to college. He's short and ordinary looking. How dare he!”

好莱坞(Hollywood)盛传,当戴维•格芬(David Geffen)得到其在纽约威廉•莫里斯(William Morris)人才中介公司邮件室的第一份工作时,他曾谎称自己拥有大学学位。

当时是1964年,有学位是其被雇佣的条件之一,于是,格芬就跟他的老板说,他曾在加州大学洛杉矶分校(University of California, Los Angeles,简称UCLA)就读。当一封来自该学校的信对他的说法提出质疑时,他在邮件室内截住了这封信,用蒸汽将其拆开,然后用一封假信掉了包。此 举十分大胆,如果他被抓住,他将会被解雇。不过,他后来的成就表明,即使威廉•莫里斯拒绝了他,也不会阻止他走向成功。
最近,这位66岁的亿万富翁被传有意收购《纽约时报》(The New York Times)。这将使他的事业范围扩展至报业。在其事业生涯里,他已经主宰了音乐界,制作了一系列百老汇歌舞剧,创建了梦工厂(Dreamworks SKG)——数十年来第一家真正独立的电影制片厂——还收集了世界上最令人惊叹的一部分现代艺术品。
他的童年与现在亿万富翁的生活方式大相径庭。格芬出生于纽约的布鲁克林,父母分别来自波兰和俄罗斯。母亲巴蒂亚(Batya)拥有一家胸衣商店,而 父亲亚伯拉罕(Abraham)是服装业的一名制版师。他的家庭并不富裕,但母亲向他灌输了工作观念,并总喜欢引用谚语,例如:“如果什么事看上去好的令 人难以置信,那么你最好别信。”格芬也喜欢说格言,他35年的老友兼合伙人杰弗里•卡岑贝格(Jeffrey Katzenberg)如是说。他们二人连同斯蒂芬•斯皮尔伯格(Steven Spielberg)一起创建了梦工厂。“他受妈妈的影响极深,常常引用她的话,”卡岑贝格说道。
格芬勉强读完了高中,在德克萨斯大学(University of Texas)尝试念了一个学期,就投奔了好莱坞。19岁时,他成为哥伦比亚电视城的一名引座员,第一天上班,他就被派到《茱蒂•嘉兰秀》(The Judy Garland Show)。他从电影城回到纽约,进入威廉•莫里斯,他的同龄人包括知名艺术经纪商拉里•加高西安(Larry Gagosian),以及后来成为朋友的巴里•迪勒(Barry Diller),迪勒后来执掌鲁珀特•默多克(Rupert Murdoch)的福克斯(Fox)。


邮件室的工作非常艰苦,格芬后来回忆道,他还要添加液体肥皂,更换厕所手纸。但这家公司教给了他一些至关重要的经验,例如如何建立人际关系并赢得信 任。在大卫•兰森(David Rensin) 2003年出版的有关这家公司的书《邮件室》(The Mailroom)中,格芬回忆自己学着如何去“读懂办公室……我在心中对每件事都做了笔记”。
卡岑贝格与格芬初次相遇时是迪勒的助手,他称他的朋友拥有一种不可思议的能力,能吸收大量信息,并迅速保留那些重要信息。但他取得成功并非靠墨守成 规。“他的一个奇妙特点是,他并非那种A型性格——每天早早起床,日程排得满满的,”卡岑贝格说道。“这不是从他身上挖掘最大价值的方式,他也知道这一 点。
到25岁左右时,通过出售拥有一半所有权的音乐出版公司,格芬已成为了一名百万富翁。1970年,他创建了孕育出老鹰乐队(The Eagles)和约尼•米切尔(Joni Mitchell)等艺人的Asylum Records唱片公司,进一步增强了影响力。70年代末对他要艰难一些:他被误诊为癌症,停止工作数年之久。但1980年他又东山再起,创建了 Geffen Records唱片公司,开创了“枪与玫瑰”(Guns N'Roses)和“涅磐”(Nirvana)乐队的事业。
Geffen Records唱片公司将格芬推入了超级富豪行列。该公司创建10年后,他将商标权出售给了卢•沃瑟曼(Lew Wasserman)旗下的MCA好莱坞唱片公司,当日本松下集团(Matsushita)收购MCA时,格芬所持股份为其最终赚得了7亿美元的利润。


70年代,格芬与唱作人雪儿(Cher)保持了很长一段关系。但MCA出售2年后,他公开澄清自己是名同性恋。这令人宽慰,他的朋友、设计师卡尔文 •克莱恩(Calvin Klein) 1993年这样对一名采访者说。“男同性恋未必被视为世界上最精明的商人。他感到自己应公开这件事,这也是为自己好。”
然而,作为一名商人,很少有谁能与格芬相媲美。出售MCA给他带来的所得,大大扩充了他从艺术、股票和房地产投资中获得的财富。格芬的艺术收藏价值 估计高达20亿美元,其中包括大卫•霍克尼(David Hockney)、贾斯珀•琼斯(Jasper Johns)和威廉•德•库宁(Willem De Kooning)的作品。3年前,他以1.4亿美元的创纪录高价,出售了杰克逊•波洛克(Jackson Pollock)的一幅作品。
他喜爱豪华地产,斥资4750万美元在比佛利山购买了一幢杰克•华纳(Jack Warner)建造的豪宅。后者是好莱坞的显赫人物,也是华纳兄弟(Warner Brothers)的联合创始人。但格芬还成为了一名慷慨的慈善家,向加州大学洛杉机分校(UCLA)医学院捐赠了2亿美元,此外还为艾滋病相关研究捐赠 了数百万美元。在他创建梦工厂时,就承诺将从中所获收益捐献给慈善事业。


多年的捐款,以及为民主党候选人招待募款人,赋予了他相当的政治影响力。格芬曾为比尔•克林顿(Bill Clinton)的总统大选募集了数百万美元,并两次下榻白宫做客。但由于克林顿特赦了流亡的金融家马克•里奇(Marc Rich),二人从此闹翻。去年的大选中,格芬转而为巴拉克•奥巴马(Barack Obama)效忠。在《纽约时报》的一次采访中,他对希拉里•克林顿(Hillary Clinton)进行了极具破坏性的打击。“政界无人不撒谎,”他对采访者说道,“但(克林顿夫妇)做得如此从容不迫,这令人不安。”
从政见上讲,格芬是一名坚定的自由主义者,但他的朋友中包括鲁珀特•默多克。他练习瑜伽,极度忠诚,但也残酷无情:他不怕挑战他认为对自己或朋友不 公的人。就在最近,他与收购了梦工厂的派拉蒙(Paramount)董事长布拉德•格雷(Brad Grey)就梦工厂从其影片所获荣誉(或者说荣誉太少)发生了冲突。他还与迈克尔•奥维茨(Michael Ovitz)长期不和。奥维茨从前是顶级经纪人,曾短暂地担任过迪士尼公司(Walt Disney)二把手。
鉴于报业的低迷现状,格芬的自信和活力可能会吸引掌控《纽约时报》的奥克斯-苏兹伯格(Ochs-Sulzberger)家族。格芬在《邮件室》一 书中表示:“如果你希望成功,那么你最好别太在乎其他人对你行为的看法。我野心勃勃。一些人会想:这个家伙是谁?他没念过大学。个子那么矮,长相平平。他 怎敢这样?”