13 things about the man who gave his $500-million art collection to LACMA

Billionaire A. Jerrold Perenchio.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

His name is A. Jerrold Perenchio. Friends call him Jerry. Today he was revealed as the man who is giving his $500-million art collection to the L.A. County Museum of Art. Here’s a look at his resume:

Perenchio represented Marlon Brando and Ronald Reagan. Perenchio became a talent agent at the Music Corp. of America, which represented Hollywood royalty, including Marlon Brando and Ronald Reagan. In the early 1960s, he formed his own agency, Chartwell Artists, representing Henry Mancini, Andy Williams and Johnny Mathis.

He’s a billionaire two times over. Perenchio’s net worth is $2.7 billion, according to Forbes, placing Perenchio into an exclusive group of Los Angeles billionaires.


Americans know who Elton John is because of Perenchio. Perenchio was instrumental in bringing a young British musician, Reginald Kenneth Dwight, known as Elton John, to the U.S. and helping launch his career.

If you worked for him, there were 20 rules you had to follow. Perenchio has long been known to Hollywood’s power elite for his financial discipline, spot-on timing and the Rules of the Road: 20 dictates that he instructed employees to follow. Rule No. 1: “Stay clear of the press,” which Perenchio broke this week after several decades, when he discussed his art collection with the Los Angeles Times’ David Ng.

He served in the Air Force. Perenchio was a fighter pilot and instructor pilot from 1955 to 1958.

Perenchio put up the prize money for the fight of the century. Perenchio guaranteed a $5-million purse to coax two heavyweight fighters into the ring. The result: the epic Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier clash of 1971, which glamorized the sport of boxing.

He’s responsible for the Battle of the Sexes. Perenchio was the mastermind of the tennis exhibition that became a social media phenomenon long before there was social media: The 1973 match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. Yes, the woman won.

His production company made “The Jeffersons.” Perenchio went into business with producer Norman Lear in 1973. The two ran Tandem Productions, TAT Productions, which produced such shows as “The Jeffersons” and “Who’s the Boss.”

Perenchio is far from a Beverly Hillbilly, but he knows his way around their house. Perenchio owns the Bel-Air mansion that millions of television viewers know as Jed and Granny Clampett’s house on “The Beverly Hillbillies.” It’s a 10-acre estate. Ronald and Nancy Reagan were his neighbors.


He helped make movies, too. Perenchio was a producer on Ridley Scott’s futuristic 1982 film “Blade Runner” and the 1989 Oscar-winning film “Driving Miss Daisy,” starring Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman.

Perenchio’s famous friends included a president and Oscar De La Hoya. Perenchio’s friends over the years have included the Reagans, Andy Williams, Disney Studios chief Alan Horn, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, tenor Placido Domingo, film producer Brian Grazer, CBS chief Leslie Moonves and boxing star Oscar De La Hoya.

He got a deal for network that became Univision. Perenchio didn’t speak Spanish, but that didn’t stop him from building the largest Spanish-language media conglomerate in the U.S. -- Univision Communications. Perenchio and two Latin American partners bought a fledging TV network from Hallmark in 1992 for $550 million. They sold Univision in 2007 for more than $12 billion.

Perenchio used his wealth to amass some of the world’s greatest art. Perenchio has at least 47 European works valued at about $500 million, including paintings by Claude Monet, Réné Magritte, Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso and Édouard Manet. Perenchio this week bequeathed his collection to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which will receive it after his death.

Twitter: @MegJamesLAT