Born: May 11, 1953
Died: April 12, 2016 (at age 62)
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
David Alan Gest (May 11, 1953 - April 12, 2016) was an American producer and television personality. Gest produced the television special Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration: The Solo Years in 2001, which was the last reunion of Michael Jackson and the Jacksons in 17 years. Gest appeared on the 2006 series of the British reality television show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! Gest appeared in Celebrity Big Brother in the UK in 2016 but due to illness had to leave after 13 days. He frequently made tabloid headlines during his marriage with Liza Minnelli.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 2 major UK papers stating that more than 30,000 text votes were unjustly not counted in Gest's favor when the network ITV had a voting glitch which would have changed the outcome of the show but Gest declined a recount.
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 by 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'".
Gest paid ITV to be released from his contract in July and ITV came back saying they had no idea what to do with him. Gest was quick to come out and 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.
In April 2007, his autobiography, titled Simply The Gest, was released.
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.
On December 12, 2010, Gest appeared on Channel 4 in a Christmas special edition of Come Dine with Me, alongside Diarmuid Gavin, Hannah Waterman and Sherrie Hewson. Gest won joint first place with Gavin on the show. In 2011, he worked with Sir Cliff Richard on his Soulicious tour. Gest toured the UK for nearly two months from January 31, 2014 with his show entitled "David Gest's Legends Of Soul Live Concert!" featuring 10 legendary soul acts. The tour was so successful he announced an additional 30 dates in the UK of "David Gest's Soul Legends Live In Concert!" that began on October 9, 2014. He appeared on a "repeat" of Celebrity Fantasy Homes on June 14, 2014 on the British Really channel.
Gest toured the UK in September 2015 playing 14 cities with "David Gest's (I've Had) The Time Of My Life Tour!", featuring legendary Righteous Brother Bill Medley in his first-ever UK tour. The tour played to sold-out theatres with more than 200,000 people attending, and lasted until mid-October. Twelve R&B acts appeared on the bill with Medley including Deniece Williams, Peabo Bryson, Billy Paul, Dorothy Moore, Atlantic Starr's lead singer Barbara Weathers, Freda Payne, Gregory Abbott, The Tymes, CeCe Peniston and former Three Degrees lead singer Sheila Ferguson. Gest planned to tour the UK again in July 2016 playing 24 dates with his show entitled "David Gest Is Not Dead But Alive With Soul Tour!". On January 5, 2016, Gest entered the Celebrity Big Brother house as a contestant for the seventeenth series. On January 18, 2016, Gest left the house on medical grounds.
David Alan Gest was born to a Jewish family in Los Angeles and grew up in Southern California.
Gest and Liza Minnelli were married on March 16, 2002, and separated in July 2003. 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. 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.
Gest's memoir, Simply the Gest, was published in 2007.
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.
On April 12, 2016, Gest was found dead in his room at the Four Seasons Hotel in East London's Canary Wharf district, at the age of 62. His death was described by police as involving no suspicious circumstances. It was later reported that he had died from a stroke.
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.
Gest's funeral service was held at Golders Green Crematorium on 29 April 2016. His ashes were scattered in York.