Leon Gast

Documentarian, Editor, Photographer
Documentarian Leon Gast spent two months in Zaire and 22 years in editing rooms in order to create and complete "When We Were Kings", his 1996 documentary on the Muhammad Ali-George Foreman 'Rumble in the Jungle' ... Read more »
Born: 11/29/1935 in Jersey City, New Jersey, USA

Filmography

Director (7)

Manny 2015 (Movie)

(Director)

When We Were Kings 1996 (Movie)

(Director)

Hells Angels Forever 1982 (Movie)

(Director)

The Grateful Dead 1976 (Movie)

(Director)

Salsa 1974 (Movie)

(Director)

Our Latin Thing 1971 (Movie)

(Director)

Smash His Camera (TV Show)

Director
Producer (4)

The Trials of Muhammad Ali 2013 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Soul Power 2009 (Movie)

(Producer)

When We Were Kings 1996 (Movie)

(Producer)

Hells Angels Forever 1982 (Movie)

(Producer)
Actor (2)

Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton As Himself 2013 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Salsa 1974 (Movie)

Narration (Narrator)
Editor (2)

When We Were Kings 1996 (Movie)

(Editor)
Production Management (1)

My Generation 1999 (Movie)

(unit C) (Field Producer)
Camera, Film, & Tape (1)

Our Latin Thing 1971 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

Biography

Documentarian Leon Gast spent two months in Zaire and 22 years in editing rooms in order to create and complete "When We Were Kings", his 1996 documentary on the Muhammad Ali-George Foreman 'Rumble in the Jungle' heavyweight title bout and its profound affect on the African-American community. Originally intended to be a concert film, it evolved into a portrait of the youthful and popular Ali contrasted with the more subdued Foreman. Because of a postponement due to an injury to Foreman, the scheduled concert, headlined by James Brown and B B King, went on to nearly empty houses. Yet Gast kept his cameras rolling and ended up with some 300,000 feet of film. Over the years, he attempted to find financing to complete the film. Finally, with assistance from Taylor Hackford who suggested filming contemporary interviews with such notables as Norman Mailer and Spike Lee to frame the picture, Gast completed the documentary. After its premiere at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival, "When We Were Kings" went on to win numerous critical prizes and the Best Documentary Feature Oscar.

Relationships

Geri Gast

Wife

EDUCATION

Seton Hall University

South Orange , New Jersey
transferred to Columbia University

Columbia University

New York , New York
dropped out before graduation to work in TV

Milestones

1997

Theatrical release of "When We Were Kings"

1993

Co-produced and edited TV-movie "Fallen Champ: The Untold Story of Mike Tyson" (NBC)

1983

Co-directed "Hells Angels Forever"

1977

With Jerry Garcia, co-directed documentary "The Grateful Dead"

1974

Shot footage for what would eventually become "When We Were Kings"

1972

Directed documentary "Our Latin Thing"

1960

Dropped out of Columbia University to take job with TV series "High Adventure With Lowell Thomas" (date approximate)

Spent 1960s as still photographer for such magazines as ESQUIRE, VOGUE and HARPER'S BAZAAR

Bonus Trivia

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"For anybody doing anything, persistence, just persistence." --Leon Gast in DAILY VARIETY, January 25, 1997.

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