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.
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 January 2012 David taped a one hour tribute to his favourite poet, Robbie Burns, for BBC Alba / MNE TV entitled ‘Cuide Ri Cathy’. Gest went to Ayrshire to visit the home where Robbie Burns was born and he recites some of his favourite Burns poems from the new Burns Museum, also in Ayrshire. In February 2012, David taped ‘Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is’ for BBC2 which will air 18 April 2012 at 5.15pm. He also taped ITV1’s new primetime 9:00 PM Saturday night show “Mad Mad World” as a special guest panelist. The show aired in April 2012. He has since made appearances on “Hotel GB”, “Let’s Do Lunch With Gino And Mel” and various other shows throughout the UK.
He recently went to Memphis to have a tumour removed from the right side of his neck, which was found to be benign.
It has been more than six 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.
David has come a long way from his early childhood. Born in Taiwan to his father, Dong Low, a fisherman who only had a right leg and his mother, maiden name We Wee, who only had a left leg. She was going to be a nun until she met his father. When they put both legs together, David was conceived. His real name was Hoppity. At 5 he was adopted by an American family and his name was changed to David and he moved to California. He has two brothers who he has not seen since childhood, Hung Low and Long Dong Low. Their whereabouts are unknown.