YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Although former talent agent turned tee-vee tycoon turned multi-billionaire Jerry Perenchio is an elusive and fiercely private man who eschews publicity or attention of any kind, he lives in one of the most dramatic and recognizable mega-estates in all of Los Angeles. Chartwell, as he calls the estate, sits smack dab in the center of Bel Air and includes a real ding-dong doozy of mansion surrounded by vast gardens that defy any real estate obsessive’s ability to ignore. The property positively screams at the top of it lungs, “Look at me! Look at me!” It’s also one of the few properties that Your Mama would happily go cold turkey on the daily gin & tonics in order to have just one hour to poke around and have a wee look-see at the unabashed splendor with our own boozy-woozy eyeballs.
According to property records, the powerful and prodigious property owner Mister Perenchio recently added to his already gigantic homestead, dumping $9,200,000 on a fixer upper across the street from the main entrance gates of his shamelessly lavish estate. The new addition brings the total size of his colossal compound up to almost thirteen acres. Listen bunny-hunnies, Your Mama is going to get to Mister Perenchio’s newest real estate acquisition, however we have a lot of background to cover so hold on tight, grab a nice drinky-poo and settle in for the long haul while Your Mama takes one of our lengthy and (in)famously circuitous routes to the meat of Mister Perenchio’s real estate matter.
Jerry Perenchio, who hails from the dusty city of Fresno, CA where his family owned a vineyard or two, migrated to Hollywood in the 1950s. His Hollywood beginnings are almost cliche: Snatched out of the mail room at MCA by the legendary Lew Wasserman who groomed him to become a top talent agent to superstars like George and Martha–that would be Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, Dame Elton John and, back when he was to die for gorgeous and before he became morbidly obese, Marlon Brando. In the early 1970s Mister Perenchio went into sports promotion and is at least partially responsible for the iconic Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight at Madison Square Garden in 1971 as well as the much ballyhooed tennis “Battle of the Sexes” in 1973 when the great Billie Jean King humiliated Bobby Riggs in three straight sets after he blathered on about the superiority and strength of male tennis players.
In the mid 1970s, Mister Perenchio partnered with the legendary Norman Lear and Alan “Bud” Yorkin, establishing and growing a production company that churned out a long list of hit programs such as The Jeffersons, One Day at a Time, The Facts of Life, Square Pegs, Silver Spoons, Who’s the Boss, and Diff’rent Strokes. Mister Perenchio and his partners became wildly rich in 1985 when they sold their solidly successful entertainment concern to Coca Cola for $485,000,000.
Mister Perenchio subsequently bought the Loews Cineplex theater chain and flipped it in less than a year, a ballsy maneuver that earned him a stunning $140,000,000. However, his real money, the bulk of his billion dollar plus fortune, comes from a $550,000,000 investment he made in five Spanish language television channels that eventually became the juggernaut Univision Communications. As best as we can tell, Mister Perenchio, now a bit long in the tooth, no longer assumes day-to-day responsibilities at Univision, but he continues to be the controlling stockholder owning somewhere in the neighborhood of 16% of the cyclopean conglomerate.
Not long after Mister Perenchio and his former partners sold their production company to Coca Cola in 1985, he began scooping up high-priced properties just east of and above the secluded, exclusive, and closed for renovations Hotel Bel Air. Property records show that Mister Perenchio picked up the first and largest piece of his sprawling estate back in December of 1986 when he forked over $13,500,000 for a 6.3 acre parcel with panoramic views of Los Angeles and a hulking and somewhat somber looking 21,523 square foot limestone-clad mansion . The purchase was, at that time, the second highest price anyone had ever paid for a house in Los Angeles. At least some of the children ought to recognize Mister Perenchio’s monster manse as the house used for the set of The Beverly Hillbillies, where the lovably naive Jed Clampett moved his hillbilly kinfolk after striking black gold, Texas tea, bubblin‘ crude, oil that is.
The huge house, done up the style of a French chateau, was built in the early 1930s by a developer as a gift for his wife who–the children might be amused to know–never moved into the monumental mansion because, the wee lassie, she hated it. The house sat empty until it was purchased in the mid-1940s by hotel magnate Arnold Kirkeby who at one time owned the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Mister Kirkeby died in an airline crash in 1962 but the opulent estate remained in the Kirkeby family until Mister Perenchio picked it up in 1986.
Mister Perenchio, who was married for the third time shortly after buying the property, hired near mythic French decorator Henri Samuel–whose other clients included Rothschilds, Vanderbilts, Gutfreunds and even Valentino–to give the place a total overhaul. He reportedly spent another $9,000,000 rebuilding the 10 bedroom and 12 pooper beast that includes entire rooms of buttery boiserie that were dismantled, shipped from Europe and painstakingly pieced back together, an underground motor court capable of parking 30 cars, and an elevator that descends into the bowels of the home and opens into a couple tunnels that lead out to the gardens.
Mister Perenchio’s new estate (a portion of which is shown above) wrapped itself around a smaller property next door and the following February the entertainment mogul shelled out another $3,600,000 to absorb the 1.299 acre property that records show includes a 5,704 square foot residence with 5 bedrooms and 6 poopers. Not content with 7.5 prime acres and two gigantic houses in the heart of Bel Air, in April of 1987 Mister Perenchio, an indisputable property hog, forked over $3,050,000 for a third property on Bel Air Road, this one measuring 1.732 acres according to the tax man. It’s unknown to Your Mama if at the time of purchase the property contained a residence, but this portion of the estate is now used for little more than a long and wide driveway that connects the massive motor court to an electronically controlled entry gate onto Nimes Road.
A few years later, in May of 1989 to be exact, Mister Perenchio snatched up a fourth property to fold into his fast growing estate. Your Mama was not able to sort out how much Mister Perenchio paid for the .98 acre parcel but we do know that it currently contains little more than a helipad. That’s right puppies, a damn helipad right in the middle of Bel Air. We don’t imagine his nearby neighbors–who include Cheryl Tiegs, Nancy Reagan, and Francois-Henri Pinault and Salma Hayek–much care for that noisy extravagance. Or, maybe, they don’t care. Who knows?
Anyhoo, after incorporating the fourth property into his estate, Mister Perenchio cooled his real estate heels…or at least the ones he was exercising in Bel Air…until October of 2006 when records show he bought a bare piece of land from directly across the street from the mansion’s main gates on Bel Air Road. Records show that he paid businesswoman Bren Simon–the philanthropic widow of billionaire shopping mall magnate and Indiana Pacers co-owner Melvin Simon–$8,500,000 for the 1.4 acre lot that, as far as we know, has been landscaped but remains essentially vacant, or at least free of any built structures.
Now that we’ve discussed the first five properties that comprise Mister Perenchio’s titanic estate we can finally get to his most recent real estate acquisition that adds a sixth property to his bulging Bel Air property portfolio. As mentioned above, records reveal Mister Perenchio paid $9,200,000 in an all cash deal for a Nimes Road estate that was last listed at $12,500,000. Listing information indicates the property spans 1.28 acres with glittery views of Los Angeles and includes a 7,942 square foot single story house built in 1951. The current house contains, according to listing information, 4 bedrooms and 5 poopers plus a staff suite with living room, bedroom and private pooper. There is also, according to listing information, an attached guest house.
The sprawling, “C” shaped house, with its stone front facade that gives it a distinct John Elgin Woolf architectural vibe, wraps around a large, gated motor court. The back of the house opens through long walls of sliding glass doors to the large, flat back yard that has room for but does not currently have either a tennis court or, somewhat surprisingly, a swimming pool. But that’s no matter, perhaps, because a well-connected Beverly Hills real estate insider snitched to Your Mama that she heard through the gossip grapevine that Mister Perenchio plans to use the supremely positioned property as an auxiliary parking area in order to increase the already large number of parked cars his estate can currently accommodate. That’s right puppies, it’s (rumored to be) a nine and some million dollar private parking lot.
In addition to the half dozen properties that make-up his behemoth Bel Air spread, property records show that Mister Perenchio also owns a penthouse unit at the Museum Tower in New York City and no fewer than 12 properties inside the gates of the star studded Malibu Colony. No butter beans, that is not a typo. Your Mama’s admittedly rudimentary research turned up a dozen Perenchio owned properties in The Colony including three on the ocean side. Presumably Mister Perenchio leases a large number of these homes. The Colony properties are in addition to his extensive commercial holdings in Malee-boo and in addition to the the private golf course he built and continues to own that sits adjacent to The Colony.
Now then, Your Mama to walk the long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly so that we can get home and settle in for a long afternoon and evening of the Australian Open and those orange skinned, jewel encrusted sandal wearing, over-processed bee-hawtchas on The Real Housewives of Orange County.