Denis O'Brien (producer)

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Denis O'Brien was an American attorney, and was the business manager of George Harrison of The Beatles for some years.

Introduced to Harrison by Peter Sellers, O'Brien helped the former Beatle sort out his tax affairs after becoming his manager in 1973.[1] Harrison and O'Brien founded the film production company HandMade Films in 1978 to finance the completion of Monty Python's Life of Brian after EMI Films, the original backers, pulled out at the last moment.[2]

Harrison brought a lawsuit against O'Brien in Los Angeles in January 1995 claiming O'Brien had deprived him of £16 million over a 12-year period.[1] O'Brien was instructed to pay Harrison £6.7 million in damages.[3] O'Brien filed for bankruptcy; an ailing Harrison sued O'Brien in bankruptcy court without success.[4] The judge dismissed the case because Harrison failed to appear for a deposition, despite Harrison's claim that he was too ill. The illness was the cancer that ultimately claimed Harrison's life.[5]

O'Brien was married to several women and had two daughters by his first wife. An affair during his second marriage led to a contentious legal battle in US and British courts, during which time O'Brien was accused of closing bank and credit card accounts and canceling his spouses medical insurance despite her battling cancer during the breakup. O'Brien was also accused of hiding assets offshore and through sophisticated financial structures to avoid paying his ex-spouse anything after their 12 year marriage.

O'Brien was the son of Albert James O'Brien who was Vice Chairman of the Board at Ralston Purina and was also Chairman of the Board Union Bank of Illinois, Union Illinois Company, State Bank of Jersyville, Illinois, a bank that the senior O'Brien gained control of in 1974. Denis O'Brien became President and CEO of the bank in 1997, but was ousted 2 years later by the bank's Board for mismanagement and not adhering to the Board's strategy, which led to huge losses for the family-owned business.[6]


  1. ^ a b "George", The Independent, 28 October 1995
  2. ^ Michael Brooks "HandMade Films", BFI screenonline
  3. ^ Paula Hawkins "Trust me, I'll take care of it all", The Independent, 5 November 2000
  4. ^ "Judge Throws Out Harrison Bid". Billboard. August 30, 2001. Retrieved May 14, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Harrison loses court bid... [Archive] - BeatleLinks Fab Forum". Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  6. ^ "O'Brien ousted from Union Financial". Retrieved 2018-03-01.