Eric Eisner
New York City, U.S.
EducationColumbia University (BA, JD)
Occupation(s)Lawyer, studio executive, philanthropist
TitleFormer president of Geffen Pictures, founder of Young Eisner Scholars
SpouseLisa Norris
RelativesAshley Olsen (daughter-in-law)

Eric Eisner is an entertainment industry lawyer and executive who served as president of The Geffen Film Company and Island World Inc.[1][2] He also founded the Young Eisner Scholars (YES) program.[3][4]


Eisner grew up in Greenwich Village and attended Little Red Schoolhouse and Elisabeth Irwin High School. worked as a songwriter and played drums for The Strangers, a New York rock band.[5] He wrote a number of songs that were recorded by various artists in the 1960s, including "No Sun Today" (Buffalo Springfield), "Emily's Illness" (Nora Guthrie),[6] and "Too Young to Be One" (The Turtles).[7]

He received his B.A. from Columbia University in 1970 and J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1973.[1] In college, he joined Students for a Democratic Society and took part in the Columbia University protests of 1968.

After law school, Eisner accepted an offer at the law firm Kaplan Livingston Goodwin Berkowitz & Selvin in Los Angeles, then the largest entertainment law firm in the world.[8] In 1980, he was recruited by David Geffen to be head of his production company and oversaw the production of films such as Risky Business and Beetlejuice, as well as Broadway plays M. Butterfly and Cats.[9]

After retiring from the entertainment industry, Eisner founded the Young Eisner Scholars program in 1998.[10] The program identifies gifted students from disadvantaged schools in Los Angeles and places them in the city's best prep and magnet schools.[11] The program has also mobilized $50 million in financial aid and scholarships to fund its scholars’ college tuition and fees, and has placed participants in top-tier universities in the country.[10]

Because of his activism in improving public school education, Malcolm Gladwell described Eisner as the "DuBois of the barrio" and "the L.A. school system’s Lone Ranger."[12] Eisner was also featured in Gladwell's podcast, Revisionist History.[13] He was named "Innovator of the Year" in education by The Wall Street Journal in 2012,[11] and one of the "Biggest Philanthropists of 2018" by Town & Country.[14]

Personal life and family

His wife, Lisa (née Norris)[15] Eisner, worked as the West Coast editor for Vogue magazine.[16] She is also a photographer, jewelry designer, and art collector.[17][18] They have two sons, including Louis, an artist.[19] The couple lives in a Bel Air, Los Angeles home designed by Cliff May.[16]

His son Louis also graduated from Columbia in 2010 and went on to become an artist in Los Angeles.[20][21] The younger Eisner married businesswoman and fashion designer Ashley Olsen in late 2022.[22][23]


  1. ^ a b "The Power of YES | Columbia College Today". Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  2. ^ "Eric Eisner has been named chief executive..." Los Angeles Times. January 8, 1992. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  3. ^ Herold, Ann (September 10, 2014). "Follow The Leader Los Angeles Magazine". Los Angeles Magazine. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  4. ^ Odman, Sydney (September 24, 2021). "Bob Iger and Willow Bay Honored at the YES 20th Anniversary Celebration Gala". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  5. ^ "Eric Eisner Biography, Songs, & Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  6. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Eric Eisner". AllMusic. Retrieved September 8, 2022.
  7. ^ Kruth, John (April 19, 2017). "Can a 50-Year-Old Pop Album Stop Us From Destroying Each Other?". Observer. Retrieved September 8, 2022.
  8. ^ Lewis, Marilyn Black,Andy; Black, Marilyn; Lewis, Andy (April 21, 2016). "A Hollywood Power Lawyer's Lost Memoir on Birthing Independent Film". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 30, 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Siegel, Alan (March 30, 2018). "How 'Beetlejuice' Was Born". The Ringer. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  10. ^ a b "YES Emphasizes Learning Over Memorization". NationSwell. February 3, 2016. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  11. ^ a b O'Rourke, Meghan (October 25, 2012). "The Unlikely Reformer". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Archived from the original on December 20, 2017. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
  12. ^ "Vanity Fair Nominates Eric Eisner". Vanity Fair. February 21, 2011. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  13. ^ Reese, Rachel. "Revising Gladwell's "Revisionist History"". Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  14. ^ "T&C 50: The Biggest Philanthropists of 2015". Town & Country. April 7, 2015. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  15. ^ Herzog, Kenny. "The Golden Age: 16 Very Expensive Highlights From Music-Business Memoirs". Vulture. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  16. ^ a b Spindler, Amy M. (May 13, 1997). "In Los Angeles, a Modern Muse". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  17. ^ Trebay, Guy (November 17, 2017). "For Lisa Eisner, 'Money Never, Ever Motivates Me'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  18. ^ Hartman, Eviana (December 2, 2014). "The Eclectic World of Lisa Eisner". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  19. ^ Trebay, Guy (November 17, 2017). "For Lisa Eisner, 'Money Never, Ever Motivates Me'". The New York Times. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
  20. ^ "Louis Eisner CV/BIO". THE STILL HOUSE GROUP. Retrieved January 14, 2023.
  21. ^ "Discovery: Louis Eisner". Interview Magazine. December 28, 2010. Retrieved January 14, 2023.
  22. ^ Siwak, Miranda (June 14, 2022). "Who Is Louis Eisner? 5 Things to Know About Ashley Olsen's Longtime Boyfriend". Us Weekly. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
  23. ^ Patterson, Charmaine (January 4, 2023). "Ashley Olsen Marries Boyfriend Louis Eisner in Intimate Wedding Ceremony in Bel-Air: Report". People. Retrieved January 5, 2023.