Posted: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 – 6:15 PM
By Matt Lopez
Jerry Perenchio, the billionaire media mogul who built Univision, has died at age 86.
A family spokesperson confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that Perenchio died Monday in his Bel-Air home.
Perenchio just about did it all in his career as a dealmaker, talent agent and promoter.
The grandson of Italian immigrants, Perenchio was raised in Fresno until he was sent to Black Foxe Military Institute for three-and-a-half years at the age of 15. After graduating, he enrolled at UCLA, where he completed his B.S. in business.
After graduation, Perenchio started a management company that organized parties for colleges and serviced most fraternities and sororities at USC and UCLA. His break in Hollywood came when he joined the Music Corporation of America (MCA), eventually becoming the youngest vice president in the agency’s history.
From there, Perenchio started Perenchio Artists in 1963, with a roster that included acts like Johnny Mathis, Henry Mancini, Glen Campbell and the Righteous Brothers – many of whom followed Perenchio from MCA – among others.
As Perenchio’s profile grew, his company merged with Hugh French Agency to form Chartwell Artists, and Perenchio was introduced to a young musician named Elton John. Perenchio ended up becoming instrumental in bringing John from London to Los Angeles, helping launch his movie career.
In 1971, Perenchio promoted what was dubbed the “Fight of the Century” at Madison Square Garden when Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier clashed. Each fighter was guarenteed $2.5 million for the bout. Two years later, he promoted the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.
In an effort to branch out into television and movies, Perenchio partnered with Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin in 1973 to form Tandem Productions. The company had several hit shows to its name, including All In The Family, Sanford and Son, Maude, Good Times and Diff’rent Strokes. Perenchio and Lear would go on to form T.A.T. Communications Company, which launched The Jeffersons and One Day at a Time.
In 1992, Perenchio partnered with Mexican media mogul Emilio Azcarraga Milmo to purchase Univision television network for $550 million. They built Univision into a Fortune 500 company, as Perenchio served as chairman and chief executive officer. The company went public in 1996 and in 2007, Perenchio sold it to Saban Capital Group, Inc. for $13.5 billion.
Perenchio was a noted philanthropist, who gave charitably to many organizations throughout Los Angeles County. He was largely responsible for financing the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, and has donated heavily to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
Survivors include Perenchio’s wife Margaret and son John.