Peter Guber

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Not to be confused with Peter M. Gruber.
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 Francine (Gellis) Guber
Children 4

Howard Peter Guber (born March 1, 1942[1]:p. 61 in Boston, Massachusetts[1]:p. 61) is an executive, entrepreneur and Number One New York Times bestselling author. He is Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment. Guber's most recent films from Mandalay Entertainment include The Kids Are All Right, Soul Surfer, and Bernie. He has also produced 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 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.

Peter Guber’s most recent business book, Tell to Win – Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story, became a #1 New York Times bestseller.

Guber is also noted for other books which include Inside The Deep and Shootout: Surviving Fame and (Mis)Fortune in Hollywood, which became a television series on AMC called Shootout, which he hosted. Guber wrote the cover article for the Harvard Business Review, “The Four Truths of the Storyteller.”

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 as a “very smart, wired kid” by a childhood acquaintance.[1]:p.61–62 He attended John Ward Elementary School and Newton North High School.:p.62 Guber’s childhood included a love of the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park, which foreshadowed his later participation in the group that purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers. [3]

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.[1]:p.64

Guber enrolled at New York University, where he earned his J.D. and LL.M. law degrees, studying for his MBA at night.[1]:p.64 As he neared graduation in 1968, Guber accepted a position with Columbia Pictures, which was keen to recruit him, as a management trainee.[1]:p.64–65

Career[edit]

Columbia Pictures[edit]

Guber joined Columbia Pictures in 1968. At Columbia, 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.[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.[1]:p.73 In August 1973 he was promoted to vice-president of worldwide production. Steven Spielberg noted that he “used to go to (Guber’s) office at Columbia when (he) was just starting. (Guber) had an enormous chart on (his) wall with what every director in the world was planning that listed their pictures in development and planned for production.” It made a lasting impression on Spielberg. [4]

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. Upon leaving Columbia in 1975, Guber was given a three-year production deal with the studio.

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 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]

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.

This period of Guber’s career was marked by sharp deal making which was often successful. 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.136–7But Guber’s deal with Cohen allowed him to buy out the producer, and Cohen was advised that if he sued, he would lose.[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.[5] 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."[6] Sony executive Mickey Schulhof asked Guber to resign in September 1994.[1]:p.439

Mandalay Entertainment[edit]

In a 1995 joint venture with Sony, Guber formed Mandalay Entertainment, a multimedia entertainment company with interests in motion pictures, television, sports entertainment and digital 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.[7]

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.[8]

Films produced[edit]

Books[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.[9]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • 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]