Born in Paris in 1928, Daniel Filipacchi was a pupil when the Second World War interrupted his studies. As a self-taught person, he never went back to school. When he was 13, he became a typographer apprentice in a printing office specialized in the secret publications. He worked for example on the Paul Eluard's poems composition.
At the end of the war, interested by photography, he worked as a freelane journalist for magazines and in particular for Paris Match.
Acknowledged expert on jazz, he was suggested to lead a radio program the day when Charlie Parker died in 1955, in his honor. It was immediately successful, and he will lead with his friend Frank Ténot a daily radio jazz program. Following this success, he decided to acquire Jazz Magazine.
Daniel Filipacchi and Frank Ténot organised european tours for all the well-known jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, Erroll Garner, Thelonious Monk and Mahalia Jackson. In this period, Filippachi was a record producer for RCA Records and Decca (Sylvie Vartan, Chantal Goya, Jean Ferrat, etc). After he launched Mood Records, he became the founder and president of Warner France in 1970.
In 1959, he decided to create and to lead a radio program decicated to the rock'n'roll named Salut les Copains (1959-1968) which is inspired by an american program. This success brought him in July 1962 to create a magazine with the same name, the edition quickly reached a million copies. Daniel Filipacchi has afterward launched new magazines. Some were dedicated to young girls, other targeted men, and some other were specialized.
In 1976, Filipacchi acquired Paris Match while the magazine was in trouble and made one of the most profitable french magazine and most influential.
As a publisher, his passion for surrealism brought him to publish books on artists like Salvador Dali, René Magritte, Max Ernst, Yves Tanguy, Dorothe Tanning, Joseph Cornell, Hans Bellmer, Wolfgang Paalen, Toyen, André Masson, Man Ray, Giorgio De Chirico and others. It was often the first published book on the artist. Some of them became his friends. He got many surrealistic works and gathered the most important private collection of Joseph Cornell's work.
In 1981 with his friend Jean-Luc Lagardère, Daniel Filipacchi acquired the group Hachette Magazines which include several magazines like ELLE. Afterward ELLE was launched in the US, followed by 25 foreign publishing. Filipacchi and Lagardère carried on the expansion of Hachette Filipacchi magazines in the US with the purchase of Diamandis Communications, INC., with magazines such as Woman's Day, Car and Driver, Road and Track, Flying, Boating among others.
For several years, Daniel Filipacchi turns out to be one of the most important art collectors in the world. An exhibition of his collection and the one of his friend Nesuhi Ertegun was presented in 1999 in the Guggenheim in NY. This event, named « Surrealism: Two Private Eyes, the Nesuhi Ertegun and Daniel Filipacchi Collections », has been depicted by the New York Times to be « a gourmet banquet », big enough to « fill the Guggenheim museum from the hall to the ceiling with a great exhibition. »