Concert promoter and television producer David Gest, who had a brief, high-profile marriage to Liza Minnelli and later became a reality TV star in the U.K., has died. The New York Times reports that Gest died Tuesday at a London hotel. He was 62.
“In a statement, the Metropolitan Police of London said that they were summoned to the Four Seasons Hotel in Canary Wharf, where members of the ambulance service pronounced Mr. Gest dead,” The Times reports.
BBC News reports that the police statement declared the death “unexplained.”
The Times report adds: “Mr. Gest, a music-industry veteran, operated for most of his career behind the scenes, producing celebrity awards shows and concert tours featuring former soul-music greats. In 2001, he staged two concerts at Madison Square Garden, ‘Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration: The Solo Years,’ which featured Michael Jackson, the reunited Jackson Five and several guests, including Ms. Minnelli. A film version was broadcast by CBS as a two-hour special.”
He became Minnelli’s fourth husband the following year in a wedding that included Michael Jackson as best man and Elizabeth Taylor as a maid of honor. “The swarm of celebrity guests at the reception included Michael and Kirk Douglas, Elton John, Anthony Hopkins, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Donald J. Trump,” The Times notes.
A brief attempt was made at a VH1 reality series, “Liza and David,” with just a single episode completed before power struggles with the couple reportedly convinced VH1 executives to scrap the project.
“The couple separated after 16 months,” The Times reports. “During divorce proceedings, Mr. Gest sued Ms. Minnelli for $10 million, accusing her of violence and physical abuse. He alleged that Ms. Minnelli, in alcohol-induced rages, beat him so badly that he suffered ‘constant, virtually unrelenting pain’ in his head. The lawsuit was dismissed.”
Gest subsequently had a career as a reality star in the U.K., starting with Britain’s version of “I’m a Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here!” and moving on to a judge’s spot on “Grease Is the Word” and a stint on “Celebrity Big Brother” before launching his own show, “This Is David Gest,” in 2007.
Here’s a clip from “This Is David Gest” …