David Gest

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David Gest
David Guest.JPG
Gest in 2007
David Alan Gest

(1953-05-11)May 11, 1953
DiedApril 12, 2016(2016-04-12) (aged 62)
London, England
  • Producer
  • television personality
  • entertainer
Years active1970–2016[1]
(m. 2002; div. 2007)

David Alan Gest (May 11, 1953 – April 12, 2016) was an American producer and television personality. Gest founded the American Cinema Awards Foundation in 1983.[2] He produced the television special Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration in 2001,[3] which was the last reunion of Michael Jackson and the Jacksons coming 17 years after their previous reunion. Gest appeared on the 2006 series of the British reality television show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!. He frequently made tabloid headlines during his marriage with Liza Minnelli.[4][5] In 2016, Gest appeared in Celebrity Big Brother 17 in the UK but elected to leave the show after 13 days due to "medical reasons". This resulted him finishing in 13th place.[6]


Early success[edit]

At the age of 17, Gest landed a job as a publicist at London Records by passing himself off as 24.[1] Nearly a year later, he was promoted to national director of publicity and transferred over to the New York office of the label. Singer Al Green encouraged him to start a P.R. and management firm, and at age 18, he created David Gest & Associates. Green became his first client and mentor. Shortly after, he had 25 artists on his roster and generated vast success.[1]

Later years[edit]

Gest finished in fourth place on the 2006 series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, a day before the show finished. Two days later, Gest appeared on the Royal Variety Show in London in front of Prince Charles, for which he received a standing ovation. Another two days later, a controversy arose on the cover of two major UK papers stating that more than 30,000 text votes were not counted in Gest's favour when the network ITV had a voting glitch. This would have changed the outcome of the show but Gest declined a recount.[7]

In January 2007, Gest appeared as a judge on ITV1's Soapstar Superstar, for one night replacing Michael Ball who was coaching the singers. Later that month it was announced that Gest had signed a one-year deal with ITV to appear in his own reality series entitled This Is David Gest, which began on April 22, 2007. He also took cameras for a rare glimpse of the Jackson family house in Encino, California, where he met Tito Jackson and his children as well as matriarch Katherine Jackson. He was one of the four judges on ITV1's entertainment series Grease Is the Word and also starred on Greased Lightnin'. In 2007, Gest also appeared in an episode of Gordon Ramsay's The F Word.

Gest paid ITV to be released from his contract early and ITV replied that they had no idea what to do with him. Gest was quick to say that he wanted to be released: "My lawyers negotiated an early release so I could host The Friday Night Project on Channel 4", Gest told The Sun.[8]

Personal life and death[edit]

Gest was born to a Jewish family[9] in Los Angeles[10] and grew up in Southern California.

Gest and Liza Minnelli were married on March 16, 2002, and separated in July 2003.[11] In October 2003, he sued her for $10 million, claiming that she had been violent and physically abusive during their marriage, behavior the affidavit blamed on Minnelli's persistent alcoholism.[11] Minnelli denied the accusations, claiming Gest was simply after her money. The suit was dismissed in September 2006 for lack of triable issue of fact.[12]

Gest was a close friend of Michael Jackson, and after Jackson's death he produced and starred in a documentary film about Jackson's life called Michael Jackson: The Life of an Icon.

In 2009, Gest sold his mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, and auctioned his rock memorabilia to put in an offer on a five-bedroom Victorian townhouse in Cambridge, England. The owners, however, took the house off the market and Gest rented a three-bedroom house in St John's Wood, North London. The same year he was the guest on Celebrity Fantasy Homes with Gaby Roslin.[13]


On April 12, 2016, Gest was found dead in his room at the Four Seasons Hotel in East London's Canary Wharf district. He was 62 years old. His death was described by police as involving no suspicious circumstances.[14] It was later reported that he had died from a stroke.[15][16] Prior to his death, Gest had been arranging a new tour entitled David Gest Is Not Dead but Alive With Soul, in reference to a misunderstanding on Celebrity Big Brother after he'd gone to bed early feeling unwell on the evening the death of David Bowie was announced.[17] In spite of Gest's death, the tour went ahead.[18]

After his death, it was revealed that Gest had been addicted to gambling; friends reportedly said that he had accumulated debts of up to £500,000 in the months before his death.[19]

Gest's funeral service was held at Golders Green Crematorium in North London on April 29, 2016.[20] His ashes were scattered in York, England.[21]


  • Simply the Gest (Headline, 2007) ISBN 9780755316960


  1. ^ a b c Jonathan Van Meter (4 June 2007). "Looking for the Rainbow". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  2. ^ Easton, Nina J. (6 January 1989). "From the Archives: David Gest's American Cinema Awards honors big names and the Golden Age of Hollywood". Los Angeles Times (published 12 April 2016). Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  3. ^ Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration, 13 November 2001, retrieved 3 February 2020
  4. ^ "Minnelli/Gest Divorce To Be Finalised This Week". Femalefirst.co.uk. 19 April 2007. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  5. ^ "The David Gest and Liza Minnelli Divorce". Recordssitereviews.com. Archived from the original on 27 November 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  6. ^ "David Gest forced to leave CBB house for 'medical reasons'". The Independent. 18 January 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  7. ^ "Channel 4 admits new phone error". BBC. 13 March 2007. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Latest World News & UK News Headlines". Uk.news.yahoo.com. 20 April 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2015.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Jewish Chronicle: "American entertainer and producer David Gest found dead in London hotel" April 12, 2016
  10. ^ "David Alan Gest". Californiabirthindex.com
  11. ^ a b Maull, Samual (17 January 2007). "Minnelli, Gest End Lawsuits, to Divorce". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  12. ^ "Hubby Claims Liza Minnelli Beat Him". thesmokinggun.com. 21 October 2003. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  13. ^ "Fantasy lifestyles of the rich and famous, David has fond memories of Glasgow, on a dark and stormy night he recalls the tail of him and Alastair. Alastair was a character, a raconteur of the west end. What we had is what made everyone back in LA jealous, he was a star for sure". 26 April 2009.
  14. ^ "Music producer David Gest 'found dead'". BBC News Online. 12 April 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  15. ^ Simpson, Fiona (14 August 2016). "David Gest 'died from a stroke'". Celebrity News. Evening Standard. Retrieved 27 May 2022.
  16. ^ Mays, Alex (14 August 2016). "Cause Of David Gest's Sudden Death Has Finally Been Revealed". Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  17. ^ Revoir, Paul. "Celebrity Big Brother in new row after housemates think David Gest had died | Channel 5 | The Guardian". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2022.
  18. ^ Shepherd, Jack. "David Gest dead: Star was about to embark on 'David Gest is not dead' tour | The Independent". The Independent. Retrieved 17 November 2022.
  19. ^ Graham, Chris (14 April 2016). "David Gest 'splashed £10,000 a day on slot machines' in months before death". The Telegraph. Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  20. ^ "Stars turn out for David Gest's funeral". BBC News. 29 April 2016. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  21. ^ Liptrot, Kate (27 May 2016). "David Gest's ashes have been scattered in York". York Press. Retrieved 28 May 2016.

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