David Gest Wiki
The complete, accurate Biography for David Gest
2006: I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!
On 06 November 2006, David Gest went into the outback of Australia for the ITV1 reality show "I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!" For three weeks, more than ten million people watched each night as David became the national hero of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. According to Tony Parsons of "The Daily Mirror" in London on 20 November 2006: "There is increasing evidence that appearing on a show like "I'm A Celebrity.... Get Me Out Of Here!" is not a career's death certificate but the kiss of life. David Gest has changed everything. Before this series began, Liza Minnelli's ex was talked about as the biggest reptile in the jungle. But after one spirited bush tucker trial and a few pithy one-liners ("Weren't you at my wedding?" he said to a baby crocodile trying to swim into his pants), Gest is suddenly the nation's sweetheart." Sara Nathan of "The Sun" in London went on to say on 25 November 2006: "DAVID GEST: Everyone thought he might be a Hollywood fruit cake. He has turned out to be fantastic and charming and everyone loves him." David Chater & James Jackson of "The Times" in London also confirmed on 25 November 2006: "... David Gest, who has been a revelation – presumably we can expect to see much more of him on our screens in the future whether he wins or not."
It was all summed up by John Walsh of "The Observer" on Sunday 19 November 2006: "The multimillionaire American showbiz impresario might indeed be a little flummoxed to discover what he has become since the new series of "I'm A Celebrity....Get Me Out Of Here!" He is now easily the most talked about element in the television show. Where two or three Britons gather by a water cooler, their talk is of Gest's oddball charm, his bracingly direct one-liners, his pop world anecdotes, his laconic valour in the face of creepy-crawlies. Critics have queued up to abuse him. But as they did, against all the odds, he began to grow on people. His bush tucker trial was a turning point. To win star tokens to secure the jungle dwellers dinner, Gest had to stand in a kind of glass phone-box, opening 10 valves which sent jungle water – along with a horrible collection of serpents, water spiders and fanged predators – gushing all over him. As the water reached his neck, he calmly collected six tokens and emerged with a spider the size of a wheel brace on his head. Advised of its presence, Gest simply plucked it off like a skull cap and tossed it away, cool as a breeze. The lessons to be learnt from this swing are simple. One, Gest is a natural star because he's rich enough, and sufficiently connected to genuine celebrity, not to care what people think of him. Two, the British public simply loves an oddball. And three, they'll forgive anything – your ugliness and vanity, your dyed hair and American wackiness – provided you tell good stories." In 2011, Digital Spy News Network took a poll of the UK's top ten greatest "I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!" contestants from the first ten years. David Gest was voted the number five favourite contestant in the show's history by the UK public. They stated, 'Dean Gaffney had bigger screams, Mylene Klass looked better in a bikini and Matt Willis pinned him to the title, but David Gest proved to be your favourite contestant from Series 6. The jack-of-all-trades entertainer was a quirky character whose celeb tales and unusual jungle antics (including a bromance with Willis) won him many fans.' Even in 2012, Gest is still loved everywhere he goes by the UK public.
Following I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, Gest became the first American to have three prime-time television series all on the air at the same time: "This Is David Gest", "Grease is the Word" and "Greased Lightnin'".
This Is David Gest
Gest went on to offer viewers a rare insight into his multimillionaire lifestyle in ITV1's top rated "This Is David Gest", with cameras following the music impresario as he adapted to British notoriety. The show sealed Gest's status as a household name throughout the UK, becoming the highest watched programme in its prime-time slot.
Gest drew on his extensive experience within the music industry to take a guest judging spot on another ratings-winning reality spectacular, "Soapstar Superstar" in January 2007. His acerbic comments and brutal honesty led to him taking a permanent judging position on "Grease is the Word", a nationwide search to find a couple to take lead roles in the stage adaptation of the 1970's classic movie "Grease". It was Simon Cowell's idea to star Gest in "Grease is the Word". Cowell became a huge fan while watching Gest on "I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!" Alongside stage producer David Ian, 80's song stylist Sinitta and choreographer Brian Friedman, Gest eventually oversaw Danny Bayne and Susan McFadden on their transition from amateur performers into West End leading stars.
David was admitted to hospital in December 2007. He had respiratory problems after completing panto with Jamie Winston, Ray Winston and Alfie Allen in an adaptation of Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol" renamed "A Twisted Carol". His tour was pushed back to January 2009 to ensure David made a full recovery before taking to the stage again. Highlights from the live tour were previewed to audiences throughout the UK when Gest hosted Channel 4's entertainment extravaganza "The Friday Night Project" in September 2007. "Heat" magazine called Gest one of the best hosts in the series' history.
"He has his own style and way of producing that reminds one of a Ziegfeld spectacular. He only does things in a big way and that's why his events are always a huge success," stated superstars Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson about their friend David Gest. Among those who concurred with this statement are Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Russell, Kirk Douglas, Usher, Sophia Loren, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Michael Bolton, Barry Bonds and an endless list of others. Mr. Gest has the distinction of producing the highest rated musical special in television history, "Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration", The Solo Years, which was seen by 44 million people, with one of every four households in the United States watching the show. In addition to producing international concert spectaculars and television specials throughout the world, Mr. Gest produced the "American Cinema Awards" for eleven years and the "International Achievement In Arts Awards" for four years. To date, Mr. Gest has produced more than one hundred shows throughout the world. He has also raised millions upon millions of dollars for various charities. He has appeared on the covers of magazines and newspapers throughout the world.
As a distinguished producer, Mr. Gest won the "NAACP Image Award" for "Best Entertainment Special 2001" for "Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration", The Solo Years, an all-star salute to the 'King of Pop,' which aired on the CBS Television Network in November 2001. The record-breaking special is considered by many critics to be television at its best. It also is the number one musical special of all-time in seven other countries including Australia. Gest and Jackson formed their own company for the special and broke all box office records, attaining the highest two concert grosses in world history (for a non-charitable event) for two nights at New York's Madison Square Garden with an amazing 7 million pound (14 million dollar) box office. Among the many stars who performed on the two shows on Friday, 7 September 2001 and Monday, 10 September 2001 were (alphabetically): Marc Anthony; Ray Charles; Deborah Cox; Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliot; Gloria Estefan; Gloria Gaynor; Billy Gilman; Whitney Houston; James Ingram; Quincy Jones & The Legends of Jazz, including Al Jarreau, Herbie Mann, Les McCann, David "Fathead" Newman, Jimmy Smith, Clark Terry & Cassandra Wilson; Gladys Knight; Lil'Romeo; Ricky Martin; Liza Minnelli; Monica; Mya; 98 Degrees, 'N Sync; Jill Scott; Shaggy, featuring Ricardo "RikRok" Ducent & Rayvon; Britney Spears; Tamia; Usher; Luther Vandross; Dionne Warwick and many more.
Mr. Gest also produced the "Miracle On 34th Street Concerts" at Madison Square Garden for three consecutive years (2000, 2001 & 2002). Among the many artists who performed were: Mary J. Blige; Blu Cantrell; Mariah Carey; Deborah Cox; Craig David; Enrique Iglesias; Alicia Keys; Chaka Khan; Christina Milian; Liza Minnelli; Mya; Shaggy, featuring Ricardo "Rikrok" Ducent and Rayvon; Shakira; The Sugarhill Gang; Whitney Houston; Marc Anthony; Ricky Martin; Christina Aguilera; Son by Four; Toni Braxton; 98 Degrees; Tamia; Destiny's Child, Gloria Gaynor; Jon Secada; Debelah Morgan; Deniece Williams; Brian McKnight; Melanie C of the Spice Girls and a special appearance by Michael Jackson.
The American Cinema Awards Foundation (ACAF) was started in 1983 by Michael Jackson, Tito and Dee Dee Jackson, actor Joel McCrea and his wife Frances Dee and David Gest. Beneficiaries of the ACAF (a non-profit organization) included the Motion Picture And Television Fund in Woodland Hills, California, The Actors' Fund Of America in Englewood, New Jersey, scholarships in the fields of theatre arts, dance and music at universities and colleges throughout the United States and free film screenings for senior citizens and the disabled at theatres and hospitals throughout America. The Foundation also raised money for charities pertaining to children's education in the arts. Honourees of this esteemed film and music Award for which Gest has produced evenings included: Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, Clint Eastwood, Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra, James Stewart, Michael Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Cruise, Sophia Loren, Clive Davis, Jane Wyman, Robert Mitchum, Deborah Kerr, Roddy McDowall, Kirk Douglas, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Julio Iglesias, Gene Kelly, Shirley Temple, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy McGuire and Joel McCrea, just to name a few.
International Achievement In Arts Awards
The "International Achievement In Arts Awards" began as an evening under the patronage of Princess Diana for the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital. The first IAAA produced by Mr. Gest was so successful that it was featured on the front page of every major London newspaper, which is quite an accomplishment for an entertainment event. The honourees of this prestigious award included: Bob Hope, Leslie Caron, Gregory Peck, Jennifer Jones, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager, Peter Asher, Roger Moore, Lauren Bacall, Gene Autry, Anthony Quinn, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Dame Diana Rigg, Sir John Mills and Ginger Rogers amongst others.
In 1993, Mr. Gest received a special "American Cinema Award" from the Board of Directors of the ACAF as well as an Award from the Board of Trustees of the Motion Picture And Television Fund presented by his good friends Gene Kelly, James Stewart, Milton Berle, Anthony Perkins and the reunion of Margaret O'Brien, Janet Leigh and June Allyson (the three Little Women who starred in the MGM classic) at a sold-out testimonial dinner in his honour in Beverly Hills, California. The evening attracted over 1,500 people and raised more than a quarter of a million dollars for "Harry's Haven," the Alzheimer's unit named in honour of Kirk Douglas' father, at The Motion Picture And Television Fund. Among those who surprised Mr. Gest with performances in his honour included: the original Four Tops, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Petula Clark, Michael McDonald, John Barrowman and a host of others. Mr. Gest was lauded for helping to raise a total of nearly four million dollars for The Motion Picture and Television Fund.
Among Mr.Gest's production credits are: The "Campione D'Italia Merit Of Achievement Awards" (transmitted throughout Europe and the Middle East on television) honouring Bette Davis, Gene Kelly, Joseph Cotten, Robert Mitchum, June Allyson, Ali MacGraw and Glenn Ford; two events for legendary actress Sophia Loren to benefit the Miami School of Medicine's AIDS Research Programme; "An Evening Honouring Jane Wyman" for the Arthritis Foundation; a "Thalians Summer Musical Spectacular" for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles; "The Field Of Dreams Awards" for the Michael Bolton Foundation and the Barry Bonds Foundation; the "Center For Families And Children Holiday Gala 2000 Honouring Legendary Ladies Of Film Musicals", paying tribute to Jane Russell, Janet Leigh, Jane Powell, Rhonda Fleming, Ann Blyth, Anne Jeffreys, Petula Clark and Celeste Holm and two benefits for the Whitney Houston Foundation For Children.
On 16 March 2002, Mr. Gest married actress Liza Minnelli in a wedding ceremony that the press regarded as the "Wedding Of The Century" and the most expensive celebrity wedding in history. More than 1,000 guests gathered at Marble Collegiate Church in downtown New York, followed by a party at The Regent Wall Street next to the site of the tragic events of 11 September. Gest felt it was apropos to let people know that life could still go on in an area where such devastation had happened. More than 64 top-name acts performed at the wedding with an 80 piece orchestra. Unfortunately after sixteen months, the couple separated in June of 2003. Mr. Gest was responsible for the amazing comeback of Ms. Minnelli, for whom he created and produced "Liza's Back!" The shows received critical raves at London's Royal Albert Hall and at New York's Beacon Theatre in 2002. He also produced "Liza Minnelli's Christmas Spectacular" at Town Hall in New York that same year.
In December, 2003, Mr. Gest's company produced two musical New Year's Eve events in Hawaii, featuring the Doobie Brothers reunited with Michael McDonald, Chaka Khan, Deborah Cox, Gloria Gaynor, B.J. Thomas and twenty others.
On 6 December 2004, Mr. Gest personally produced and hosted "David Gest's All-Star Holiday Extravaganza" in Memphis, Tennessee at The Cannon Center For The Performing Arts. Nearly three dozen artists participated including Three 6 Mafia, Lil' Whyte, The Doobie Brothers, Dionne Warwick, The Emotions, Mya, Deborah Cox, William Bell, Jerry Butler, Petula Clark, Topol, Jane Russell, Patricia Neal, Tippi Hedren, Gale Storm, Barbara Rush, Candi Staton, Martha Reeves, Freddie Scott, Kim Weston, Carl Carlton, Robert Osborne of Turner Classic Movies, The Original Box Tops, Billy Gilman, Alex Chilton, Barbara Mason, Billy Paul, Archie Bell, Gene Chandler and a host of others.
Additionally, on Christmas Day 2004 Mr. Gest personally paid for more than 50,000 homeless, senior citizens, disabled and low income families from Memphis, Arkansas and Mississippi to have free meals in various restaurants in Memphis and Arkansas. This was Mr. Gest's personal gift to the city of Memphis in which he had recently resided.
On 26 January 2006, Mr. Gest produced the television special "Dionne Warwick: 45th Anniversary Spectacular" at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. The all-star tribute included performances by Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Richard Carpenter, Sir Cliff Richard, Gloria Estefan, Gladys Knight, Olivia Newton-John, Jeffrey Osborne, Della Reese, Jill Scott, Nancy Wilson, Candi Staton, Brian McKnight, Ashford & Simpson, Burt Bacharach, Thom Bell, Shirley Caesar, Da Brat, Deborah Cox, Andre Crouch, Sandra Crouch, Edwin Hawkins, Lynette Hawkins, Walter Hawkins, Tramaine Hawkins, Cissy Houston, Kashim, Donnie McClurkin, Chante Moore, The O'Jays, The Spinners, Angie Stone, Leslie Uggams, Dee Dee Warwick, BeBe Winans, CeCe Winans and Angela Bassett. The evening received rave reviews from the critics.
Following his appearance on "I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!", Mr. Gest hosted "David Gest's New Year's Weekend All-Star Soul Spectacular" at Cadogan Hall in London on 28-31 December 2006 for five sold-out shows. The show starred Peabo Bryson, Russell Thompkins, Jr. & The New Stylistics (the original lead singer of all the Stylistics' classic hits), Bonnie Tyler, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, Candi Staton, Deniece Williams, Billy Paul, Freda Payne, Carl Carlton, Dorothy Moore and William Bell.
Gest's remarkable life story was chronicled in his Headline autobiography "Simply the Gest", which was published in April 2007 and received rave reviews. In addition to his own TV shows, Gest has made appearances on entertainment programmes including "8 Out of 10 Cats", "Never Mind the Buzzcocks", "The David Gest Playlist", "Katie & Peter: The Baby Diaries", "This Morning", "Richard & Judy" and "Alan Carr's Ding Dong". In November 2007 Gest went to Australia on behalf of Foxtel Network who screened the series of "I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!" in which he starred. It became a ratings smash in Australia and New Zealand.
Gest performed live in 2007 before 14,000 on stage in Dublin with Westlife on their number one hit "Mandy" for which he got a standing ovation. According to Gest, 'it was quite possibly the worst vocal in music history but one of the most exciting moments of my life!'
2008: Legends Ball
In May 2008, Gest hosted the "Legends Ball" starring Whitney Houston in concert for Caudwell Children at the Battersea Evolution Centre in London. Gest was reunited that evening with many of his legendary film star friends whom he invited to attend including Mickey Rooney, Patricia Neal, Tippi Hedren, Jane Russell, Jane Powell, Dick Moore, Carroll Baker, Arlene Dahl, Joan Collins, Sally Ann Howes as well as astronaut Buzz Aldrin and a host of others. He also celebrated his birthday at London's Royal Garden Hotel where more than 800 friends gathered including Gest's mates Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal, Matt Willis, Jason Donovan, Heidi Range of the Sugababes, Tito Jackson, Petula Clark, Prince Azim of Brunei, Shayne Ward, Emma Griffiths, Faith Brown, Sinitta, Peter Andre, Katie Price, Gemma Atkinson and cast members from "Hollyoaks", "Coronation Street", "EastEnders", "Holby City" and "Casualty". The evening raised more than 110,000 pounds for Caudwell Children.
2008 was a very exciting year for David Gest. In April 2008, he began a new career as a Celebrity DJ performing at clubs and festivals throughout the UK and Europe. His incredible DJ show received rave reviews and audiences reached as much as 10,000 people in a single night. Gest also made his recording debut with guest vocals on the Scottish cult group Attic Lights' Island Records single "Bring You Down". He was featured in the hysterical video with the group as well as with the Chinese Girl With Herpes and the Little People Of DavidLand.
Gest's MTV/VH1 four-hour Christmas 2008 special, "David Gest's Top 40 Christmas Crackers," was the highest rated MTV Christmas Special according to Steph Withey, producer of the show. It was seen by millions and ran nearly every day during the month of December on MTV, VH1, VH1Classic and TMF. David Gest also hosted another four hour special for MTV/VH1 that year entitled, "Michael Jackson's All-Time Top 40 Greatest Videos" which was another ratings winner for the MTV channel and like its predecessor is still shown today.
2009: "David Gest...My Life!" Tour
"David Gest... My Life!" began touring the UK on 10 January 2009 at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. Performing live on the show in Liverpool and London at the Inidig02 were ten legendary acts including: Russell Thompkins, Jr. & The New Stylistics (The Original Lead Singer of All The Stylistics Hits) (I Can't Give You Anything (But My Love), Rock N' Roll Baby, You Are Everything, You Make Me Feel Brand New and Sing Baby Sing); Bonnie Tyler (Total Eclipse Of The Heart, Holding Out For A Hero, It's A Heartache, A Rockin' Good Way and Lost In France); Peabo Bryson (Tonight, I Celebrate My Love, If Ever You're In My Arms Again, A Whole New World (Alladin's Theme) and Beauty and The Beast); James Ingram (Somewhere Out There, Yah Mo B There, Baby, Come To Me, I Don't Have The Heart, 100 Ways, Just Once); Billy Paul (Me and Mrs. Jones, Let 'Em In and Your Song); Freda Payne (Band Of Gold and Bring The Boys Home); Dorothy Moore (Misty Blue, I Believe You and Funny How Time Slips Away); Edwin Hawkins Singers (Oh Happy Day and Lay Down (Candles In The Rain); Legendary Philadelphia Soul Man Eddie Holman ([Hey There] Lonely Girl) and (only on Indigo2 date) Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr., The Original Grammy-Winning Lead Singers of The 5th Dimension (You Don't Have To Be A Star, Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In, Wedding Bell Blues and Up Up And Away).
According to Gest, 'I was so excited about finally doing this tour. I had to postpone this tour twice, first when I got ill last December with pneumonia and took a few months off to recuperate and the second time right after I performed three quadruple back flips for the BBC1 Breakfast Show. The BBC1 crew had just left as we continued rehearsing and a dancer grabbed the middle of my knee twice instead of the heal of my foot with his long nail and tore out a huge chunk of skin while rehearsing the flips. He actually tore the skin to the bone which I had to have grafted. Even if I had been in a wheelchair this new tour would have taken place. I had a great time producing this show. A couple days before the show, I sang the closing number to Whitney Houston who told me she wasn't even sure if vocal lessons could help me! I told her she's just jealous!!!' Ultimately, David was a hit in the show. According to Gest's best friend Tito Jackson, 'Watching David do four quadruple back flips was just amazing!'
The play encompassed the story of Gest's life with comedy and music. It included over thirty top 5 records, all performed by the original artists. In addition to that, it included characters David made famous in the jungle when he appeared on "I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!" Gest sings and dances in numbers with a twelve member dance troupe entitled The Tess Tickle Dancers and the Little People Of DavidLand.
On the heels of packed shows and strong reviews in London and Liverpool, David announced additional UK dates for "David Gest...My Life!". The first three shows grossed approximately £186,000. Earning high kudos from "Loose Women" co-host Carol McGiffin, the show featured Gest's own talents ('a tremendous performer!' enthused BBC1 radio host, TV personality and journalist Vanessa Feltz) as well as those of Russell Thompkins, Jr. & the New Stylistics, Billy Paul, Peabo Bryson, Freda Payne, Dorothy Moore, James Ingram, the Edwin Hawkins Singers, The Little People of DavidLand and many others.
The first date of his UK tour at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall on January 10 completely sold-out more than 1,700 seats, with hundreds unable to buy tickets. Due to popular demand, a matinee was added two days before Christmas, three weeks before the show itself, and also sold-out. At the Indigo2 in London, the show drew a near-capacity crowd. According to Leo Green, senior booker for the Indigo2, it 'sold exceptionally well for the venue, achieving 90% capacity, which considering a Monday night in January in the middle of economically challenging times, is impressive.'
In April 2009, Gest was also featured on UK TV's newly rebranded "Home" Channel in a one-hour special entitled "Celebrity Fantasy Homes," where he went house hunting in Cambridge with Gaby Roslin.
"David Gest...My Life!" ran for 24 more dates throughout October 2009 and along the way broke box office records and made musical history as the biggest and best soul concert ever put on in the UK. In Liverpool, the two scheduled performances both sold-out in less than 24 hours to break box office records (4,000 tickets were sold grossing over £150,000 in a single day). Throughout the tour, the ecstatic and enthusiastic crowds that greeted them blew David and the performers away. From countless standing ovations to some truly memorable sing along moments from the crowd to music fans packing out the aisles of the theatres to dance, each performance left a lasting impression on all that attended.
Beginning at the Journal Tyne Theatre in Newcastle on 01 October, there followed dates at Blackpool Opera House; Sheffield City Hall; Southport Theatre in Southport; St. George's Concert Hall in Bradford; Robin Park Sports Centre, Wigan; Liverpool Philharmonic plus the legendary London venue The HMV Hammersmith Apollo to name just a handful. The historic line-up included over 14 legendary stars singing over 30 top ten hits. Legends performing at each venue included: The Temptations Review Featuring Dennis Edwards: the Original Grammy Award-Winning Lead Singer Of Their Classic Hits (Papa Was A Rollin' Stone, I Can't Get Next To You, Ball of Confusion and Psychedelic Shack) with Guest Performers Pete Doherty & The Rumble Strips joining them on a very special number; Russell Thompkins, Jr. & The New Stylistics, the Original Lead Singer Of All Their Hits (I Can't Give You Anything (But My Love), Rock N' Roll Baby, You Make Me Feel Brand New, You Are Everything and Sing Baby Sing); Peabo Bryson (Tonight, I Celebrate My Love, Whole New World (Alladin's Theme) and Beauty & The Beast); Jimmy Ruffin (What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted and Hold On To My Love); Candi Staton (You Got The Love and Young Hearts Run Free); Billy Paul (Me and Mrs. Jones, Let 'Em In and Your Song); Deniece Williams (Free, Let's Hear It For The Boy and That's What Friends Are For); Freda Payne (Band Of Gold, Bring The Boys Home and Deeper And Deeper); Dorothy Moore (Misty Blue, I Believe You and Funny How Time Slips Away); William Bell (Private Number, Tryin' To Love Two and Born Under A Bad Sign); Jean Knight (Mr. Big Stuff and My Toot Toot); Kim Weston (It Takes Two, Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me) and Helpless) Ben E. King (Stand By Me) and Very Special Guest Star, the renowned Percy Sledge (When A Man Loves A Woman and Warm And Tender Love) as well as many of the characters David made famous in the jungle. On the final tour date at the St. David's Hall in Cardiff, David was joined on stage by "his second mother", Hollywood film superstar Jane Russell, who joined the cast for one very special date.
The tour was closely followed up by TV appearances on Sky 1's factual entertainment series "Michael Jackson: The Search For His Spirit" and a Channel 4 tribute to "Michael Jackson Cha'mone Mo'Fo' Selecta! A Tribute to Michael Jackson".
Topping off a hugely successful year for Gest, in December 2009 the star launched a massive TV campaign with no fewer than 10 appearances on British television throughout the entire month including a record-breaking appearance on the Christmas edition of Channel 4's hugely popular food show "Celebrity Come Dine With Me". The action-packed show broke records as the most-watched episode ever with nearly 4 million people tuning in to see Gest delight his fellow celebrity diners - TV gardener Diarmuid Gavin, Sherrie Hewson from "Loose Women" and ex-"EastEnders" star Hannah Waterman - by having his old Hollywood pal Mickey Rooney hand out cocktails at his dinner party. Gest went on to a joint victory in the show - with the prize money donated to charity. Off-screen, Gest's bizarre cooking practices (sprinkling the goose fat with Viagra to make his roast potatoes stand up tall) proved too tantalizing for journalists and made headline news in the tabloid press as well as the story hitting countless news websites throughout the world after it was picked up by an international press agency.
In addition, Gest's other appearances during December included a star appearance on ITV1's "All Star Impressions" on Saturday 26 December at 9.30pm where he appeared as Tom Jones singing the massive hit "It's Not Unusual" backed by JLS. Gest's four-hour MTV/VH1 Christmas Special entitled "David Gest's Top 40 Christmas Crackers" ran throughout December on VH1, VH1 Classics, Viva and MTV.
The David Gest award-winning production of "Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration, The Solo Years", Michael Jackson's last live concert appearance, aired on Five at 10pm on Monday 21 December and again on New Year's Eve (31 December) at 9pm. The historic concert was the first reunion of the Jacksons in 17 years (as well as their last appearance together) and Michael Jackson's last live concert appearance. Gest was responsible for conceiving and co-writing the whole production and won many awards for the show including the prestigious "NAACP Image Award", the USA's premiere event celebrating the outstanding achievements and performances of people of colour in the arts as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice. The show was the highest rated musical special in television history in America, where it was shown on CBS, as well as seven other countries. The legendary show also featured live performances by Destiny's Child, Usher, Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston, Gloria Estefan, Slash, Marc Anthony, Gloria Gaynor, James Ingram, Lil'Romeo, Liza Minnelli, Monica, 'N Sync, Shaggy featuring Ricardo "RikRok" Ducent & Rayvon Mya, Deborah Cox, Jill Scott, Tamia, Al Jarreau, Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Missy 'Misdemeanor' Elliot, Nelly Furtado, Rah Digga, 98º, Billy Gilman and Aaron Carter. There were also appearances by Elizabeth Taylor, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Tucker and Marlon Brando.
Gest's mammoth PR campaign to support these shows included high-profile broadcast interviews on "BBC Breakfast", BBC Radio 1's "Scott Mills Breakfast Show" (in for Chris Moyles) and ITV1's "Loose Women". He also appeared on the front cover of the "Observer" magazine's obituary issue – which celebrated the lives of the stars we lost in 2009. In an emotional self-penned article about his best friend Michael Jackson, Gest recalled his fondest memories of the time spent with the Jacksons growing up together as well as recalling all the amazing professional achievements they made together in adult life.
2010: Celebrity Cash In The Attic
January 2010 kicked off with more records broken as David helped E4 to record viewing figures for the opening episode of "Celebrity Big Brother's Big Mouth", the sister show of Channel 4's "Celebrity Big Brother". As an invited guest of host Davina McCall, David's irreverent comments about the fresh batch of celebrity housemates proved to be popular with both critics and the public alike.
David went on to appear as a guest of Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer on their highly acclaimed BBC2 series, "Shooting Stars". He proved to be one of the funniest panelists of the series and one of the only celebrities to have the two comedy heavyweights in stitches of laughter!
In a busy year for David, he raised more money for charity than any participant in the history of the popular BBC series 'Celebrity Cash In The Attic', reaching £9,720 in one episode that aired on BBC1 in December 2010. This fantastic achievement not only beat all previous records for the 'Celebrity' version of the show but also for the original, long running "Cash In The Attic" series itself. Gest's appearance on the show became one of the highest rated in the entire series. Gest sold a mixture of showbiz memorabilia and antiques on the show that he had collected over the years. The money raised went to one of Gest's favorite charities, STEPS, that helps children who need artificial limbs to lead normal lives. According to Gest, "this is a charity close to my heart and every pound raised to help any child in need makes it all worthwhile. If they ask me to do the show again, I would jump at the chance just to help out more children."
In October 2010, David Gest embarked on yet another sensational musical venture, 'David Gest's Soul Spectacular'. This once in a lifetime, three city tour included a monumental evening at Liverpool Cathedral (30th November 2010) which was graced with an unprecedented 18 soul legends. The largest ever bill of its kind conceived, hosted and produced by Gest himself. The following night (Sunday 31st October) Gest once again played to SRO at Liverpool Cricket Club. On Monday 01 November 2010, "David Gest's Soul Spectacular" moved on to Southport Theatre and Convention Centre and played to many thousands more.
Performing live on the shows were: The Temptations Review Featuring Dennis Edwards, the Original Grammy Award-Winning Lead Singer Of Their Classic Hits: Papa Was A Rollin' Stone, I Can't Get Next To You, Ball of Confusion and Psychedelic Shack. The group will also be performing other Temptations classics including My Girl; Russell Thompkins, Jr. & The New Stylistics, the Original Lead Singer Of All Their Hits (I Can't Give You Anything (But My Love), Rock N' Roll Baby, You Make Me Feel Brand New, You Are Everything and Sing Baby Sing); Peabo Bryson (Tonight, I Celebrate My Love, Whole New World (Alladin's Theme) and Beauty & The Beast); Lamont Dozier (Why Can't We Be Lovers, Fish Ain't Bitin', Baby Love, My World Is Empty Without You, This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You), Stop! In The Name Of Love, Reach Out I'll Be There, You Keep Me Hangin' On); Ashford & Simpson (Solid, Ain't No Mountain High Enough, You're All I Need To Get By, Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing, Found A Cure); Billy Paul (Me And Mrs. Jones, Let 'Em In, Your Song); The Tymes (Ms Grace, You Little Trustmaker, People); Freda Payne (Band Of Gold, Bring The Boys Home, Deeper And Deeper); Dorothy Moore (Misty Blue, I Believe You, Funny How Time Slips Away); Eddie Floyd (Knock On Wood, Things Get Better); Kim Weston (It Takes Two, Helpless, Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me)); Archie Bell (Here I Go Again, Soul City Walk, Tighten Up); Martha Reeves (Dancing In The Street, Jimmy Mack) She's A Winner, Cowboys To Girls); Brenda Holloway (Every Little Bit Hurts, When I'm Gone); Dee Dee Sharp (Mashed Potato Time, Ride); Candi Staton (You Got The Love, Young Hearts Run Free, Suspicious Minds, Stand By Your Man'); Eddie Holman (Hey There Lonely Girl); and Very Special Guest Star, the legendary Percy Sledge (When A Man Loves A Woman, Out Of Left Field, Warm And Tender Love and The Dark End Of The Street). Gest also performed with The Little People Of DavidLand and his cousins 'The Hump Family Singers', Rosetta, Chlamidia and Filange.
According to Gest: 'I've worked in the entertainment industry for nearly five decades and this was truly the most remarkable line-up of soul artists ever assembled on one bill.' There were eighteen legends performing on stage who have collectively had more than 150 chart hits between them. Gest stated, 'Those three dates in the North were absolutely fabulous... I doubt anyone will ever experience a musical extravaganza like this again. This is when I say 'Holy Focaccia!''
David was incredibly excited about returning to his spiritual home at the end of 2010... the Australian Jungle! He was back where he belonged, in slightly more comfortable surroundings, as he lended his expertise to ITV2's "I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here Now!" He took part as a very special guest in the first four episodes of the hit show passing judgment on the latest crop of stranded celebrities and showing viewers another taste of his unique brand of humour.
2011: "MICHAEL JACKSON: THE LIFE OF AN ICON"
David Gest dedicated more than eight months of 2010 and the first seven months of 2011 producing and hosting the life story of his best friend Michael Jackson. He defines the making of "MICHAEL JACKSON: THE LIFE OF AN ICON" as the definitive statement of a life involved in the entertainment business. According to Gest, 'I have accomplished many things in my life but very few have been as gratifying as spending fifteen months putting together what I believe is the definitive DVD and Television bio on the life of Michael Jackson.' After a bidding war between four companies, it was finally released in October 2011 by Universal Pictures in every country of the world. It also gave David the chance to show his serious side as the host of this epic DVD and Television documentary.
Katherine Jackson, Tito Jackson, Rebbie Jackson and more than fifty friends, peers and associates of Michael Jackson revealed the man behind the mirror on Producer David Gest's groundbreaking two-and-a-half-hour DVD and Television Special "Michael Jackson: The Life Of An Icon".
As a best friend of Jackson's from childhood, Gest has had unprecedented access to the 'King of Pop's' family members, closest allies and coworkers – many of whom have gone on record to talk about Jackson's life for the very first time.
Gest has pieced together the most important facts about Jackson's life based on brand new first-hand accounts he filmed with the people who knew the star best including those Michael loved, trusted and respected the most. This is no fluff piece. From Jackson's idiosyncrasies and addictions, to the high points of the most celebrated artist of all time, the story unravels in a most unique and fascinating way. In addition to celebrating Jackson's many achievements as the biggest selling artist of all-time, 'Michael Jackson: The Life Of An Icon' puts to rest some of the speculation surrounding the darker side of the star's life, dispelling accusations, falsehoods and lies about Jackson.
The special delves into Jackson's obsession with his appearance, desire to follow in the footsteps of Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy, Jr. as businessmen, his first sexual experience with a well-known older woman at a young age, the terror he went through when his hair caught on fire whilst filming a commercial for Pepsi, the tragedies that followed in later life including Michael's dependencies on pills as well as his hostility towards those who were disloyal to him. The special also looks into his relationships with Debbie Rowe and Lisa Marie Presley and the various doctors who treated him throughout his life.
Also included in the show is rare, in-studio and live television performance footage of
Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 as well as unforgettable original music from the Motown period by Michael, the Jackson 5 and other artists who Jackson respected and was influenced by. The soundtrack includes more than twenty-one classic tunes.
In addition to interviews with family members Katherine Jackson, Tito Jackson and Rebbie Jackson, "Michael Jackson: The Life Of An Icon" includes exclusive interviews with: Smokey Robinson (Legendary Motown Recording Artist & Songwriter as well as Former Vice-President of Motown), Dionne Warwick (Legendary Recording Artist), Whitney Houston (Legendary Recording Artist & Actress), Thomas Mesereau (Michael's Attorney at his sensational molestation trial in 2005), Frank Cascio (Michael Jackson's assistant, long-time friend and un-indicted co-conspirator at Michael's second trial for child molestation), Percy Sledge (Legendary Soul Singer, 'When A Man Loves A Woman'), Petula Clark (Legendary UK Singer, 'Downtown'), Paul Anka (Legendary Singer & Songwriter, 'This Is It' and 'My Way'), Dennis Edwards (Grammy-Award winning lead singer of The Temptations on 'Papa Was A Rollin' Stone' and 'I Can't Get Next To You'), Jimmy Ruffin (Legendary Motown Recording Artist, 'What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?'), Freda Payne (Singer, 'Band Of Gold'), Legendary Motown Songwriting Team of Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Eddie Holland (Responsible for more than 150 hits for the Supremes, Four Tops, Isley Brothers, Kim Weston, etc.), Martha Reeves (Legendary Motown Recording Artist, 'Dancing In The Street'), Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson (Legendary Motown Songwriters and Recording Artists), Abdul 'Duke' Fakir (Original member of the legendary Motown Recording Group 'The Four Tops', 'I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)'), Ron Alexenberg (Former Vice-President of Epic Records who signed The Jacksons to CBS when they left Motown), Peabo Bryson (Legendary Singer, 'Beauty And The Beast', 'A Whole New World (Alladin's Theme)'), Eddie Floyd (Stax Records Singer/Songwriter, 'Knock On Wood'), Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. (Original Lead Singers of 'The 5th Dimension'), Kim Weston (Motown Recording Artist), Brenda Holloway (Motown Recording Artist), Don Black (Legendary songwriter, 'Ben'), Ronnie Rancifer (Member of the Jackson 5 between 1966 and 1976), Bobby Taylor (Lead Singer of 'Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers', discovered the Jackson 5 and produced their first album at Motown), Keith & Ronald Jackson (Michael's first cousins), Reynaud Jones (Original member of the Jackson 5), Frank DiLeo (Michael's Manager 1984-1989, 2010), J. Randy Taraborrelli (Close friend and best-selling Biographer of Michael Jackson), Milford Hite & Robert Hite (Milford was an original member of the Jackson 5 and his brother Robert managed them prior to Joe Jackson), Dexter Wansel (Writer and Producer for The Jacksons when they signed to CBS), Russell Thompkins, Jr. (former lead singer of the Stylistics on all their hit records), Mickey Rooney (Legendary Actor), Weldon A McDougal III (Helped discover the Jackson 5, promoted their records on Motown and was the group's official photographer), Mark Lester (Godfather to Michael's children and claimant to the possible paternity of one or more of Michael's children), the songwriting team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff (who were responsible for The Jacksons first hits after leaving Motown including 'Enjoy Yourself' and 'Show You The Way To Go') and Billy Paul (Singer, 'Me & Mrs Jones').
Family matriarch Katherine Jackson, for the first time, opens up intimately about her personal life as well as her relationship with her son Michael. Rebbie Jackson, Michael's eldest sister, gives a very rare interview and recounts the star's childhood growing up in Gary, Indiana, as well as his difficulties with father Joe, his extraordinary bond with mother Katherine, and his decline in later years. Gest's other best friend, Michael's brother, Tito, provides an in-depth look into Jackson's history and what his mother and family went through during the sensational molestation trial in 2005. The viewers witness an emotional side to Tito never before seen on camera.
David Gest and Michael Jackson began their friendship in 1969 and more than thirty years later the two formed a successful business venture, World Events LLC, where Gest produced and Jackson starred in the highest rated music television special in history "Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration" on the CBS Network. According to Gest, 'I have tried to show Michael in a truly unique light. I have spent the past fifteen months traveling the world interviewing people who were most important in his life. I believe this popumentary will entertain and educate in equal measures about who the real Michael Jackson was. I hope this will serve as a lasting testament to the compassion and love that he had for all mankind. He was a very complex individual and this special reveals the many different facets of his personality.'
On 02 November 2011, Universal Pictures in conjunction with David Gest Productions held the world premiere event of "Michael Jackson: The Life Of An Icon" at the Empire Theatre in Leicester Square. Among the star studded guests in attendance were Tito Jackson, Rebbie Jackson, Lawyers Thomas Mesereau and Susan Yu, the Director Andrew Eastel and Gest. More than ten thousand fans crowded around the theatre to get glimpses of all the stars attending. Following the premiere, Gest and Universal held an after-party at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London where Russell Thompkins, Jr. (The Original Lead Singer Of All The Stylistics Hits), Peabo Bryson, Deniece Williams, Martha Reeves, Jimmy Ruffin, Kim Weston and Brenda Holloway all performed in concert along with many surprise guest stars. Gest hosted the event which lasted until 2:00 AM. The film received rave reviews. Gest appeared on BBC1's "This Week With Andrew Neil", ITV1's "Alan Titchmarsh Show" and BBC1's "BBC Breakfast" all in November 2011 to promote the film.
Also in 2011, David came up with the concept for Cliff Richard's "Solicious" CD for EMI Records on which he was Executive Producer. Lamont Dozier produced a number of the tracks in Memphis, Tennessee while Ashford & Simpson produced their tracks in New York. It was the last production that Nick Ashford was involved in before his untimely death. The album was released in the UK in October 2011.
2012: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
In February 2012, David flew to Newark, New Jersey to pay his respects to the late Whitney Houston at her funeral. The two had been good friends for more than twenty years. His friendship with Whitney started in 1989 when he was introduced to her by his best friend Michael Jackson. At the time, he was producing the "American Cinema Awards" in Los Angeles. He and Michael were driving to Disneyland in Michael's Rolls Royce when David said that he would really love to have Whitney receive next year's "Distinguished Achievement in Music Award". She would join recipients Tom Cruise, James Stewart and Lauren Bacall as honourees. Straight away, Michael dialed her number and passed David the phone saying, 'Okay, here she is, ask her.' David liked Whitney from the moment he spoke to her, and she immediately said yes to the honour. He produced many shows with her, a number of them in aid of her Whitney Houston Foundation. In March of 2010, he interviewed Whitney for his film "Michael Jackson: The Life Of An Icon" while she was in concert in Copenhagen. That night, after the concert, Gest interviewed her for the film and afterwards they ended up talking until 4am. The conversation was deeply personal, a real heart to heart. His favourite memories of Whitney were the times when they laughed together as well as when she sang at one of his dinner parties at his apartment in New York along with the Four Tops and Garth Brooks' wife Trisha Yearwood. They sang her big hit "I Believe In You and Me" which the Four Tops had recorded first. Another of Gest's favourite memories was when he was driving with Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston in Michael's car in the mid 1980s and the three were singing along to "Dionne Warwick's Greatest Hits". Michael would sing one song, then Whitney would sing the next song and when it came to David's turn, both Michael and Whitney started singing together and told him to not sing! David will miss Whitney immensely. Two days after the funeral, David appeared back in London on "BBC Breakfast" on BBC1 and wrote a very touching two page eulogy on her for 'The Sun'.
In February 2012, David taped "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is" for BBC2 which will air in the summer. He also taped ITV1's new primetime 9:00 PM Saturday night show "Mad Mad World" as a special guest panelist. The show will air in April 2012.
It has been more than five years since David won the hearts of the British public on "I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!" and he has truly become a household name and one of the most loved entertainers in the UK. His popularity also extends to Australia (where he has made a number of television appearances in the last four years) and New Zealand. He is currently working on developing a new series and another film and will spend half of the year in the US and the other half in the UK.