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Gordon Gekko is a fictional character from the 1987 film Wall Street by director Oliver Stone. Gekko was portrayed by actor-producer Michael Douglas, in a performance that won him an Oscar for Best Actor. Gekko will return in Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps which is currently in pre-production.

Co-written by Stone and screenwriter Stanley Weiser, Gekko is claimed to be based loosely on arbitrageur Ivan Boesky, who gave a speech on greed at the University of California, Berkeleymarker in 1986, and real-life activist investor / corporate raider Carl Icahn. According to Edward R. Pressman, producer of the film, "Originally, there was no one individual who Gekko was modelled on," he adds. "But Gekko was partly Di Wu", who was the "Junk Bond King" of the 1980s, and indicted on 98 counts of racketeering and fraud in 1989.

In 2003, the AFI named him number 24 of the top 50 movie villains of all time.

In 2008 Gordon Gekko was named one of the Fifteen Richest Fictional Characters (just behind Uncle Sam) according to Forbes who attributed him with 650 million dollars.

Fashion

Gekko's clothing selections were both a nod to 1980s corporate culture fashion trends and an innovation in those trends. The colorful suspenders, shiny shoulder-padded suits and permanently slicked-back hair became the 'official look' of power and fortune. Gekko's ensemble was assembled by Alan Flusser.

Gekko's suspenders were manufactured by Albert Thurston Ltd. The blue suspenders with singular white stripe are Eton Collegemarker colours. The iconic custom-made shirt worn by Gordon Gekko was hand-crafted by master shirtmaker, Mel Gambert of Newark, NJ. The selection of apparel worn by Gekko was greatly discerned to add an authoritative air and promote a dominating physical stature.

Cultural symbol

Gekko has become a symbol in popular culture for unrestrained greed (with the signature line, "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good"), often in fields outside corporate finance.

On September 25, 2008 Michael Douglas, acting as a UN ambassador for peace, was at the 2008 session of the United Nations General Assembly. Reporters sought to ask him off topic questions about Gordon Gekko; "Douglas was asked whether he bore some responsibility for the behaviour of the greed merchants who had brought the world to its knees thanks to his (aka Gekko's) encouragement." Trying to return to topic Douglas tried to "suggest that the same level of passion Wall Street investors showed should also apply to getting rid of nuclear weapons."

The actor was also asked to compare nuclear Armageddon with the "financial Armageddon on Wall Street". After one reporter inquired "Are you saying, Gordon, that greed is not good?" Douglas stated "I'm not saying that. And my name is not Gordon. It's a character I played 20 years ago."

On October 8, 2008 the character was referenced in a speech by the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in his speech "The Children of Gordon Gekko" concerning the Financial crisis of 2007-2008. Rudd stated “It is perhaps time now to admit that we did not learn the full lessons of the greed-is-good ideology. And today we are still cleaning up the mess of the 21st-century children of Gordon Gekko.”

On July 28 2009, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone cited Gekko's greed is good slogan in a speech to the Italian senate, saying that the free market had been replaced by a greed market, and also blamed such a mentality for the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

References in pop culture

  • In a parody of Sesame Street in the episode 'Maurice Was Caught' of Robot Chicken, a parody of the character appears as "Gordon the Gecko."
  • In the episode "Employee Transfer" on The Office, Ryan Howard dresses up as Gordon Gekko for Halloween.
  • One episode of Futurama also features a character who appears to be a thinly-veiled stand-in for Gekko, complete with '80s references.
  • In the video game Warcraft 3, greedisgood is a cheat code to get free resources. This is based on the famous "Greed is good" quote by Gordon Gekko.
  • In the episode "Not Without My Daughter" on "The Sarah Silverman Program", Heather performs the "Greed is good" speech for a beauty pageant.
  • On the album "The First Crusade" by "Jakobinarina", singer Gunnar Ragnarsson makes a reference to Gordon Gekko in the song 'So, Spit Me in the Eye'.
  • In the tv show Gossip Girl, Chuck Bass channels Gekko's style in the 3rd season after taking over his father's business.


Footnotes

  1. Daily Telegraph "Gekko is Back"
  2. Drinkin’ And Dronin’, Mel Gambert.
  3. Vatican Slams ‘Greed Is Good’ Wall Street Mantra


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