David Lawrence Geffen is an American filmmaker, record executive, and entrepreneur. He co-created Asylum Records in 1971 with Elliot Roberts, Geffen Records in 1980, DGC Records in 1990, and DreamWorks SKG in 1994.
After a brief appearance as an extra in the 1961 film The Explosive Generation, Geffen began his entertainment career in 1964 as a mailroom clerk at the William Morris Agency (WMA), where he quickly became a talent agent. He learned about showbiz politics while reading the memos he delivered between agents.
In order to obtain the talent agent job, he had to prove he was a college graduate. As he later reported in an interview, he claimed in his job application at WMA that he had graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Because he worked in the mailroom, Geffen was able to intercept a letter from UCLA to WMA which stated that he had not graduated from UCLA. He modified the letter to show that he had attended and graduated, then submitted it to WMA. His colleagues in the mailroom included Elliot Roberts, who later became Geffen's partner at Asylum Records.
In 1968 Geffen left WMA and became a talent agent for Ashley-Famous Agency. In 1969, he was executive vice president and talent agent for Creative Management Associates. At this time he also started working as a personal manager and was immediately successful with Laura Nyro and Crosby, Stills and Nash.
When Geffen was engaged in the process of looking for a record deal for young Jackson Browne, Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun suggested that Geffen start his own record label.