David Leaf

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David Leaf
Born (1952-04-20) April 20, 1952 (age 66)
Years active
  • Writer
  • producer
  • director

David Leaf (born April 20, 1952) is an American writer, producer, and director known for documentaries, music programs, and pop culture retrospectives.


According to music critic Richie Unterberger, Leaf was "the first author to write extensively, and honestly, about the Beach Boys". Leaf's 1978 biography, The Beach Boys and the California Myth, examined the behind the scenes tensions and family history that had never been covered before. He adds that Beach Boy Mike Love was "annoyed" with the book, and that "If there is a flaw to Leaf's writing, it's that its praise of Brian Wilson is often unabashed, and his dominant creative role in the group arguably overstated."[1]

Among Leaf's best-known documentaries are The U.S. vs. John Lennon (2006) and Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the Story of Smile (2004). His television credits include being one of the Emmy-nominated (and Peabody Award-winning) writers on September, 2001’s landmark all-network telethon America: A Tribute to Heroes. He has also written such network specials as "The Kennedy Center Honors" (CBS) for which he won a WGAW Award. Since 2010, Leaf has been an adjunct professor at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "David Leaf". AllMusic.

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