Jerry Perenchio

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Jerry Perenchio
AJP 2016.jpg
Perenchio in January 2016
Andrew Jerrold Perenchio

(1930-12-20)December 20, 1930
DiedMay 23, 2017(2017-05-23) (aged 86)
Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
EducationB.S. Business Administration
Alma materUniversity of California, Los Angeles
Years activeFormer Chairman and CEO of Univision (1992—2007)
Known forRules of the Road[1]
Board member ofRonald Reagan Presidential Foundation (2000—17)
AwardsHonorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, Cal State University, Fresno

Andrew Jerrold Perenchio (December 20, 1930 – May 23, 2017) was an American billionaire businessman and philanthropist. He was at one time the chairman and chief executive officer of Univision.

Early life[edit]

Perenchio was the grandson of Italian immigrants Giovanni Batiste (later John) Perenchio and Madeline D'Adda, who came to the United States in 1896 from the northern Italian village of Pavone. His grandfather established the Fresno Grape Exchange,[3] built a packinghouse that shipped fresh fruits and vegetables to the Great Lakes region, and later founded the Crestview Winery. Perenchio was raised in Fresno until the age of fifteen, when he was sent to Black Foxe Military Institute in Los Angeles for three-and-a-half years, graduating in 1949.[4]

That fall he enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), attending for five years and completing his B.S. in Business in 1954. He financed his own way through college, first with a series of odd jobs and then by establishing a small company – Party Management – that booked bands and catered parties at UCLA and the University of Southern California.[5]

During his last two years at UCLA, Perenchio was a member of the Air Force ROTC, which required that he serve a three-year hitch in the Air Force after graduating. In 1955 he entered the Air Force as a 2nd Lieutenant and earned his wings as a single-engine jet fighter pilot. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and received an honorable discharge in 1958.


Party Management was highly successful and became the major service that fraternities and sororities at UCLA and USC used to organize entertainment and menus for their social events. The company also catered private parties. While in the Air Force, Perenchio booked bands for officers' clubs at air bases in Northern California. It was successful, offering contacts with talent agents in the entertainment business that would set the course of his career.

Music Corporation of America (MCA)[edit]

In 1958, Perenchio joined MCA in the Band and Act Department. He moved up the ranks to become the youngest vice president in the agency's history, and was made Head of the Concert Department for the eleven Western states and the Far East. Perenchio has said that he got his "MBA at MCA"[6] and learned basic tenets that later informed his Rules of the Road: "take options, never grant them"; "never sell assets – lease them on a very short string"; "stay in the business you understand"; "make the calls and know the territory."[7][8]

He worked at MCA for four years until July 13, 1962 when the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department shut down MCA's talent-representing operations.[citation needed]

Perenchio Artists/Chartwell Artists[edit]

After the break-up of MCA, Perenchio started Perenchio Artists with a partner in 1963. Its roster of clients included Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, Henry Mancini, José Feliciano, Glen Campbell, Sergio Mendes, the Kingston Trio, and the Righteous Brothers, among others, many of whom followed Perenchio from MCA.[3] He eventually merged with the Hugh French Agency to form Chartwell Artists, which represented actors, directors, writers, musicians and singers. Perenchio's focus remained on live entertainment. In 1969, while in London with Henry Mancini, Perenchio was introduced to Elton John, who had just recorded his first album. By the following summer, in August, 1970, Perenchio brought John from London to Los Angeles[9][10] and rented out the Troubadour club in Hollywood for two weeks to showcase John's talent. Word got out after the first performance and John became an overnight sensation, launching his career in the United States. Chartwell Artists grew to be the fifth-largest talent agency in the world. It was sold to International Creative Management (ICM) in 1972 when Perenchio decided to leave the agency business.[citation needed]

Sports promotion[edit]

In March 1971 Perenchio promoted the Fight of the Century at Madison Square Garden that brought together two unbeaten world heavyweight boxing champions, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Each fighter was guaranteed $2.5 million for the fight. The event blended sports with spectacle and glamorized boxing, in part because the sold-out crowd at the Garden included celebrities and politicians. Perenchio enlisted concert promoters to help sell 1.5 million closed-circuit tickets throughout the United States, and sold the rights in over 100 countries. Two years later, in September 1973, he promoted the Battle of the Sexes tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs that took place at the Houston Astrodome. It was the largest live audience (30,472) for any tennis match ever, and was the highest rated broadcast for that year when it was televised during prime-time on ABC.[11]

Tandem Productions/Embassy Communications[edit]

Looking to branch out into television and motion pictures, Perenchio joined Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin in 1973 as a partner at Tandem Productions, and was made president and CEO. As part of the deal, Perenchio brought with him Alan F. Horn, a young Harvard Business School graduate whom he had recently hired away from Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati. In recruiting Horn, Perenchio wanted to bring someone new into the business, someone with an outside perspective that he could train. Within a few years, Perenchio made Horn president of Tandem and the two worked together from 1973-85 until the company and its parent company, Embassy Communications were sold to Columbia Pictures. Horn went on to become a prominent figure in the film industry; he co-founded Castle Rock Entertainment, was president and COO of Warner Brothers and currently serves as chairman of Walt Disney Studios.

Perenchio's business acumen combined with the creative talents of Lear and Yorkin transformed Tandem into the top television production and distribution company of its time, with hit shows that included All in the Family, Sanford and Son, Maude, Good Times and Diff'rent Strokes. Perenchio and Lear went on to form T.A.T. Communications Company – which launched The Jeffersons and One Day at a Time, along with a number of other successful half-hour situation comedies and later purchased Embassy Pictures in 1982[12] (with Horn as CEO). He teamed up with Yorkin, separately, to produce the 1982 dystopian science fiction thriller Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford. Perenchio and Lear sold Embassy to The Coca-Cola Company in 1985, for $485 million in Coca-Cola stock.[13][14][15][16]

After the sale of Embassy Communications, Perenchio went on to produce Driving Miss Daisy with the Zanuck Company in 1989. The film featured Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman, and won four Academy Awards including Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress and Best Picture. In 2002, Perenchio produced Frida with his wife Margaret Perenchio, which starred Salma Hayek.

Other business ventures[edit]

Throughout his career, Perenchio brokered some of the most lucrative deals in the entertainment industry: the sale of Caesars Palace to Lums Restaurants in 1969; the sale of A&M Records to PolyGram in 1989; and the sale of the Motown Records – again to PolyGram – in 1993.

He is considered a pioneer of pay television and co-founded National Subscription Television (ON-TV) in 1977, which featured mainstream movies, sports events and concert specials and became the largest "over-the-air" pay television network in the world. From 1985-1987 Perenchio owned the Loews Theaters, with locations in New York, New Jersey, Texas, California and five other states. With the relaxation of federal regulations concerning the Paramount Decrees, he sold the chain to Tri-Star Pictures at nearly four times the purchase price. It was the first deal of its kind between a theater chain and a film studio since the antitrust ruling by the Supreme Court in 1948.


Perenchio's most ambitious enterprise was partnering with Mexican media titan Emilio Azcárraga Milmo to purchase the Univision television network in 1992 for $550 million. The network was renamed Univision Communications, Inc. and built into a Fortune 500 company. Perenchio served as chairman and chief executive officer, and was the Controlling Shareholder.[citation needed]

Over a period of fifteen years, Univision expanded existing facilities, purchased 35 additional television stations, added Spanish radio stations, acquired Mexican record companies, and grew into one of the most successful multimedia companies in the world.[citation needed]

It became the most popular Spanish-language broadcast network in the United States and the first foreign language television network to occasionally outperform English language networks in the United States ratings. In 1996 the company went public and traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol UVN. Perenchio sold Univision Communications in March 2007 for $13.5 billion to the Saban Capital Group, led by investor Haim Saban.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Perenchio was married three times and was separated from his third wife, Margaret Perenchio. He had one son and two adopted daughters from his first marriage, along with six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

In 1986 Perenchio purchased the 42-room former Arnold Kirkeby estate in Bel Air known as Chartwell,[18] famed as the Clampett family mansion in the 1960s The Beverly Hillbillies TV series. He remodeled the home to more closely resemble the original design of an authentic 18th-century French chateau. He afterward bought many of the surrounding properties, expanding the compound to nearly 13 acres of land.[19]

Perenchio died on May 23, 2017, of lung cancer in his home at the age of 86.[20]


In late 2014, Perenchio announced that he would leave much of his art collection — at least 47 works valued at more than $500 million — to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. His holdings include paintings by Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, and Pablo Picasso.[5][11] At the same press conference, former Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said of Perenchio, "There is no citizen of this community who has been more generous, and has asked for less..."[21]


A lifelong Republican, Perenchio was a supporter of initiatives and advocacy organizations that benefited the GOP. He was co-finance director for Senator John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign[22][23] as well as an early and influential supporter of Carly Fiorina's 2016 presidential primary campaign.[24]

Awards and honors[edit]

From 2000, Perenchio served on the board of trustees for The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. In 2011 he received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts Degree from Cal State University, Fresno at the school's Centennial Commencement.[25]


  1. ^ "Jerry Perenchio's 20 'Rules of the Road'". Wall Street Journal. August 13, 1999.
  2. ^ Forbes Staff (February 2016). "Jerry Perenchio". Forbes. New York City: Forbes Media, LLC. and Integrated Media.
  3. ^ a b James, Meg. "A Hollywood Player Who Owns the Game". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved June 20, 2006.
  4. ^ Black-Foxe Alumni - Class of 1949
  5. ^ a b McDonald, Soraya Nadia (November 7, 2014). "Jerry Perenchio, a very private man, just publicly bequeathed the L.A. County Museum half a billion dollars worth of art". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: WP Company and Nash Holdings.
  6. ^ LACMA Press Release: "A. Jerrold Perenchio announces bequest of his Art Collection to LACMA",; accessed May 27, 2017.
  7. ^ "Profile: The Many-Moneyed World of Jerry Perenchio," Broadcasting Magazine, August 6, 1979, pg. 129.
  8. ^ Sato, Kai (May 25, 2017). "20 "Rules of the Road," Jerry Perenchio's Unfading Wisdom". Inc. New York City: Mansueto Ventures. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  9. ^ James, Meg. "13 things about the man who gave his $500 million art collection to LACMA". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  10. ^ "45 Years Ago: Elton's First Visit to the US – Part 1",; accessed May 27, 2017.
  11. ^ a b James, Meg (May 24, 2017). "Jerry Perenchio, promoter of the first Ali-Frazier bout and Bobby Riggs vs. Billie Jean King, dies at 86". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  12. ^ The Anniston Star Staff (January 21, 1982). "Purchase of Embassy Pictures". The Anniston Star. Anniston, Alabama: Consolidated Publishing Co. p. 31. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  13. ^ Schrage, Michael (June 18, 1985). "Coke Buys Embassy & Tandem". Los Angeles: Lightray. The Washington Post. Archived from the original on May 2, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  14. ^ Delugach, Al; Harris, Kathryn (June 18, 1985). "Lear, Perenchio Sell Embassy Properties". Los Angeles: Lightray. Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 18, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
  15. ^ Vaughn, Christopher; Desowitz, Bill (June 18, 1985). "Coke buys Embassy: 485 million". Los Angeles: Lightray. The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on May 18, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  16. ^ Fizz, Movies and Whoop-De-Doo, "Time", May 12, 1986
  17. ^ "Univision Communications, Inc., Saban Capital Group". Archived from the original on December 27, 2012. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
  18. ^ Coldwell Banker Global Luxury, Hilton & Hyland, and Berkshire Hathaway Home Services (August 7, 2017). "Iconic Bel Air Estate Introduced to the Market for the First Time in 30 Years for $350 Million by Coldwell Banker Global Luxury, Hilton & Hyland, and Berkshire Hathaway Home Services". PR Newswire. New York City: Cision Inc. Retrieved August 7, 2017.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  19. ^ David, Mark (January 28, 2010). "Jerry Perenchio Bags Another Big One in Bel Air". Variety. Los Angeles: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved January 28, 2010.
  20. ^ Johnson, Ted (May 24, 2017). "Jerry Perenchio, Billionaire Media Mogul Behind Univision, Dies at 86". Variety. Los Angeles: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  21. ^ Wyrick, Christopher (November 6, 2014). "Industry Veteran Jerry Perenchio Bestows LAMCA With Largest Single Art Gift Ever". The Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles: Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group (Eldridge Industries). Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  22. ^ "Jerry Perenchio, Billionaire Media Mogul and Former Univision CEO, Dies at 86". TheWrap. 2017-05-24. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  23. ^ "Jerry Perenchio, Dealmaker Who Built Univision, Dies at 86". 2017-05-24. Retrieved 2017-05-27.
  24. ^ Eric Lichtblau, "Reclusive Media Mogul Stands Firmly in Carly Fiorina's Corner", New York Times, October 8, 2015.
  25. ^ "Entertainment Icon Perenchio Awarded Honorary Doctorate," Fresno State News, May 21, 2011

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