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Dancing with Jerry Perenchio

Dad may have been worried about me as a brand new student, fifteen, at University High School in West Los Angeles. Almost all my friends had gone to Hamilton but the dividing line was Westwood Blvd. and we were three blocks west of the line.

The first school dance of the year was coming up and I didn’t have a date. Dad decided to set me up with Jerry Perenchio who was a student at UCLA and was booking bands out of Dad’s office in Beverly Hills.

The night of the dance arrived. It was held in the school gymnasium. My new girl friends were agog when I arrived with this handsome Italian dressed in a tuxedo, as I recall. I love ballroom dancing and remember this as a particularly enjoyable evening, spent with a handsome gentleman.

Jerry did not last long at the Jack Kurtze Agency. Dad was alarmed by Jerry’s proclivity to sell acts which were not under contract with the Kurtze Agency. But Jerry’s willingness to shoot high paid off for him later as he represented Henry Mancici, Johnny Mathis, Sergio Mendes and the Kingston Trio and screen stars including Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

In the 1970s Perenchio joined with Norman Lear to produce some beloved television shows such as “The Jeffersons,” and “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.” He came into my sites again when in 1992 he and his partners bought Univision, offering Spanish language programming.

When Jerry Perenchio died May 24, 2017, his obituary included praise for his life-long generosity and integrity. I had a private recollection of a young man willing to take a fifteen-year old to her high school dance.


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