Peter Guber

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Peter Guber
Born Howard Peter Guber
(1942-03-01) March 1, 1942 (age 72)[1]:p. 61
Boston, Massachusetts, US[1]:p. 61
Alma mater Syracuse University (BA),
New York University (JD and LLM)
Occupation Producer, executive, entrepreneur
Years active 1977–present
Spouse(s) Tara Lynda Guber
Children 4

Howard Peter Guber (born March 1, 1942[1]:p. 61 in Boston, Massachusetts[1]:p. 61) is an American film producer and executive and chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment. Films he personally produced or executive produced include Rain Man, Batman, The Color Purple, Midnight Express, Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey, The Witches of Eastwick, Missing and Flashdance. Guber's most recent films from Mandalay Entertainment include The Kids Are All Right, Soul Surfer, and Bernie. Guber's films have earned over $3 billion worldwide and 50 Academy Award nominations.[2] Guber is also a co-owner of two professional sports teams: the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball. Guber is also a No. 1 New York Times Bestselling Author. Peter Guber is also a visiting professor at Anderson School of Management at UCLA.

Early life[edit]

Peter Guber's parents Sam Guber and Ruth Anshen, of Jewish descent, married in 1929.[1]:p.62 Peter's father owned a junk business in Somerville, Massachusetts.[1]:p.62 As a child, Guber was noted for his intelligence, outgoing nature, high energy, aggressiveness, and extreme competitiveness.[1]:p.61–62 He attended John Ward Elementary School and Newton North High School.:p.62

Following high school graduation, Guber enrolled in the pre-law curriculum at Syracuse University. He played intramural football and pledged the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity.[1]:p.62–63 Guber spent his junior year abroad at Syracuse's Florence, Italy campus. At Syracuse he met his future wife, Lynda Gellis, the daughter of a kosher meat magnate and the "self-styled queen" of her sorority.[1]:p.64

With the financial support of his wealthy new father-in-law, Guber enrolled at New York University for his J.D. and LL.M. law degrees, studying for his MBA at night.[1]:p.64 (Though he later claimed otherwise on resumes, he would never finish the last degree.[1]:p.80 As he neared graduation in 1968, Guber, tired of the bone-chilling winters in his native Northeast, accepted a position with Columbia Pictures as an assistant and management trainee.[1]:p.64–65


Columbia Pictures[edit]

Guber provoked both "contempt and grudging admiration" when he worked as executive Jerry Tokofsky's assistant.[1]:p.68 Guber, an early proponent of computerization and entertainment technologies, began computerizing files on working actors and made available tape-recorded summaries of scripts for other executives to listen to while driving to work.[1]:p.68–69 A year after arriving at Columbia, Guber, having witnessed a demonstration of an early video cassette machine, published "The New Ballgame/The Cartridge Revolution," a "prescient" analysis of the changes to be wrought by home video technology, in the journal Cinema.[1]:p.69–70

Guber was transferred to the business affairs division after Tokofsky was fired, a position from which he watched his next two supervisors also be fired.[1]:p.71 Guber paid to fly himself to Columbia's New York City office and successfully argued for his promotion to vice-president of creative affairs.[1]:p.71–72 Shortly thereafter Guber was named head of American production, an advancement that, due to Columbia's power structure, had little authority.[1]:p.73 In August 1973 he was promoted to vice-president of worldwide production. Partly because of a tendency to commit funds and projects to multiple filmmakers and actors simultaneously, Guber was fired by Columbia president of production David Begelman in 1975, a fact he at first denied and then confessed to friends.[1]:p.79–80,82 Upon leaving, Guber was given the "golden parachute" of a three-year production deal with the studio. During his time at Columbia the studio released, among other films, Shampoo, Taxi Driver, Tommy, The Way We Were and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Independent producer[edit]

Guber launched his career as an independent film producer with The Deep, which became the second highest-grossing film of the year.[1]:p.86 (Though he hadn't liked the Peter Benchley book upon which the film was based, Guber later commented that the wet T-shirt clinging to curvaceous star Jacqueline Bisset "made me a rich man."[1]:p.83,85) Guber also bought the rights and served as executive producer for Midnight Express. Produced by Alan Marshall and David Puttnam, the film earned seven Academy Award nominations including Best Picture. The National Association of Theater Owners named Guber Producer of the Year.

Casablanca Record and Filmworks[edit]

In 1976 Guber merged his company Filmworks with Casablanca Records, headed by Neil Bogart, to form Casablanca Record and Filmworks, Inc. Guber became chairman while Bogart remained President of the combined company. Their record operation included Kiss, Donna Summer, Captain and Tennille, The Village People, and George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic. It also released soundtracks such as Midnight Express, Endless Love, and Flashdance. During this period, Guber also produced several television shows and series, including Television and the Presidency (1984) with Theodore H. White, the 1985 documentary series Oceanquest for NBC, and the 1980 special Mysteries of the Sea for ABC.

PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and the Guber-Peters Company[edit]

After Bogart was forced out following the takeover of Casablanca by PolyGram in 1979, Guber formed PolyGram's motion picture and television division where he was chairman of the board and CEO. He sold his interest in PolyGram in 1983 and formed and served as co-owner of the Guber-Peters Company (GPC) along with producer Jon Peters.

Films on which Guber served as producer or executive producer have earned more than $3 billion in worldwide revenue and more than 50 Academy Award nominations, including four Best Picture nominations. Guber's producing credits include Rain Man, Batman, Gorillas in the Mist, The Color Purple, Innerspace, The Witches of Eastwick, Flashdance, Missing, Tango & Cash and An American Werewolf in London.

The extent to which Peters was involved in the making of these films has been a matter of disagreement, as has the quality of his contributions. Steven Spielberg, director of The Color Purple, had a clause written into his contract barring Guber from ever coming to the set.[1]:p.127 Spielberg, who was later attached to Rain Man for several months as its director, has said that he "never had a single meeting" with Guber on either project.[1]:p.162 Additionally, Guber and Peters became known for "leaving a trail of traumatized producers and directors in their wake."[1]:p.136 With The Witches of Eastwick Guber was accused by producer Rob Cohen, who had originally approached Guber with the book, of having "bought the book out from under me" after negotiations had begun.[1]:p.136–7 Subsequently, Cohen says, Guber offered him a "take it or leave it" deal to line produce the film at a rate that was one-third of Guber's own salary.[1]:p.137 Guber, "having grabbed the material and secured the talent, disappeared" from what would become a very troubled shoot.[1]:p.137 Michael Apted, director of Gorillas in the Mist, said that Guber "doesn't come to you with the greatest reputation," leading a filmmaker to think that Guber-Peters is "on the cusp of Hollywood sleaze there."[1]:p.134

Sony Pictures[edit]

In 1988, GPC became a public company when they merged with game show production company Barris Industries and on September 7, 1989, Barris Industries was renamed Guber-Peters Entertainment Company.[3] On September 29, 1989, GPEC was acquired by Sony Corporation and Guber became chairman of the board and CEO of Columbia Pictures Entertainment (now Sony Pictures Entertainment). The sale was completed on November 9, 1989 a day after Sony acquired Columbia Pictures Entertainment. During Guber's tenure at SPE, the company produced and distributed many prime time, half-hour comedy television series, with shows including Married... with Children, Designing Women, and Seinfeld (all launched prior to Guber's arrival), and Mad About You and The Nanny.

During Guber's tenure as chairman and CEO, SPE's Motion Picture Group achieved, over four years, an industry-best domestic box office market share, which averaged seventeen percent. During the same period, Sony Pictures led all competitors with 120 Academy Award nominations, the highest four-year total ever for a single company. However, rampant spending by Guber and Peters led to their time at Sony to be viewed as a "disastrous tenure [that] Sony Pictures made them rich while it yielded bad, bloated movies and cost the company a fortune."[4] Sony executive Mickey Schulhof asked Guber to resign in September 1994.[1]:p.439

Mandalay Entertainment[edit]

After leaving Sony, Guber formed Mandalay Entertainment, a multimedia entertainment company with interests in motion pictures, television, sports entertainment and new media.

Golden State Warriors[edit]

On July 15, 2010, Chris Cohan, previous owner of the NBA's Golden State Warriors, reached an agreement to sell the franchise for a record $450 million to Boston Celtics minority partner Joe Lacob and Guber.[5]

Los Angeles Dodgers[edit]

On March 27, 2012, Guber became a minority owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers through his affiliation with Guggenheim Baseball Management LLC.[6]

Films produced[edit]


Guber is the author of three books; his 2011 book, Tell to Win, reached number 1 on the New York Times (Hardcover Advice & Miscellaneous Best Sellers list.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac Griffin, Nancy; Masters, Kim (1996). Hit and Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony for a Ride in Hollywood. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-684-80931-1. 
  2. ^ Peter Guber at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ "Barris Industries Has New Name". Los Angeles Times. September 7, 1989. 
  4. ^ Maslin, Janet (July 30, 1996). "Books of the Times: Outlandish Hollywood Doings (Some Are Fiction)". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ AP (July 16, 2010). "Lacob, Guber have deal to buy Warriors". Retrieved July 16, 2010. 
  6. ^ MLB (March 27, 2012). "Dodgers sold to Magic Johnson's group". Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Best Sellers: Hardcover Advice & Misc.". The New York Times. March 20, 2011. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 


  • Griffin, Nancy; Masters, Kim (1996). Hit and Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony for a Ride in Hollywood. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-80931-1. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]