Victim: Lana Clarkson Suspect: Phil Spector
Lana Clarkson, 40, a Los Angeles actress, born in Long Beach, California, April 5, 1962, was found shot to death on February 3, 2003 in the Alhambra California home of Phil Spector the 62-year-old reclusive multi-millionaire record producer and musical pioneer.
Lana was found dead in a pool of blood from a gunshot to the face, on the marble foyer inside Spector’s 10-bedroom "Pyrenees Castle," frequently guarded by vicious dogs and bodyguards.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department found a handgun on the floor of the foyer. The police claim he cleaned the gun after the shot was fired but they found traces of blood and gunshot residue on his body. According to a coroner's report the gun was shot inside her mouth leaving residue on both hands, indicating she may have fired the weapon. Other weapons were also seized.
The couple met at the House of Blues, on the Sunset Strip, where Lana worked as a hostess for less than a month. She went home with Spector Sunday night after work. At around 5 am Monday, Spector’s driver called law enforcement after hearing gunshots from inside the house. A neighbor heard three or four shots.
Neighbors said Spector kept his house dark, and did not come out of the house for long periods. He lived alone had not been seen at home recently.
Lana who was famous for her role in the cult film classic, "Barbarian Queen" (1985), appeared in twelve movies, including: Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), Deathstalker (1984), Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II (1988), Blind Date (1984), Vice Girls (1996), Amazon Women on the Moon (1987), and The Haunting of Morella (1990). She made guest shots on TV series, including The Jeffersons, Three's Company, Knight Rider, and The A-Team. She formed Living Doll Productions to get her own projects off the ground.
She regularly attended comic book and fantasy conventions.
Born in New York, Harvey Phillip Spector started out in 1958 as a songwriter, guitarist, and backup singer for a Los Angeles band Teddy Bears. His hit “To Know Him is to Love Him,” was inspired by the gravestone inscription of his father Benjamin, who committed suicide in 1949.
Phil Spector is famous for producing acts with the Beatles, Ronettes, Tina Turner, and the Ramones. His "Wall of Sound" of orchestration and multi-layered vocals made him famous. He produced the hits, “You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin,'” and "Unchained Melody," by the Righteous Brothers; the Ronettes' “Be My Baby,” and "To Know Him Is to Love Him;" Ben E. King's "Stand by Me," "Long and Winding Road;" John Lennon's "Instant Karma", and "Imagine;" and George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord." He won two Grammy awards and is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio.
A millionaire by the age of 21, he moved back to New York to write songs and produce records for the Crystals and the Ronettes after the Teddy Bears broke up. His Wall of Sound, overdubbing musical scores, changed the way pop records were produced. His players called “The Wrecking Crew” included guitarist Glen Campbell, pianist Leon Russell, drummer Hal Blaine and the late Sonny Bono.
Spector owned a record label, Philles. His career had reached its peak by 1966, when Ike and Tina Turner's River Deep, Mountain High, failed he closed down Philles Records, and became a recluse. In 1970, he produced “Let it Be,” a Beatles' album and George Harrison's All Things Must Pass.
Spector married Veronica "Ronnie" Bennett, a member of the Ronettes, but they divorced in 1974 after six years. Spector's reputation was marred by allegations of domestic abuse, heavy drinking, and bizarre behavior. He has five children. In 1980, while working with Ramones on the “End of the Century” album, in a dispute he pulled a gun on the band.
Spector surrounded with bodyguards, worked with Leonard Cohen, on his 1977 album, "Death of a Ladies Man." He told the New York Times that Spector was difficult to work with, mad, and out of control. For awhile he wore a gun on his hip and a large crucifix on his neck. He admits that substance abuse affected his behavior.
After John Lennon's death he helped Yoko Ono produce Lennon's work.
In 1989, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In a 1998, a judge ruled that Spector, who kept the rights to the Ronettes recordings, should have shared royalties violating his 1963 contract with the band. They should have received 50% of the royalties but were paid nothing, while Spector earned millions. He sold the recordings for background use as in movies, videocassette recordings, and advertising. The Ronettes' biggest hit, "Be My Baby", was played during the opening credits of the movie Dirty Dancing. November 2001, an American appeals court ordered Spector to pay $2.97m plus interest to the Ronettes trio including his ex-wife, her sister Estelle Bennett, and their cousin Nedra Talley Ross.
Recently Spector worked on his first project in 23 years with UK band Starsailor on two songs. Spector’s friend, attorney Marvin Mitchelson, said he was working on a film about his life. "His mental state has been great - very rational, very together." Mick Brown of The Telegraph said he was optimistic and eager to produce music again.
September 27, 2004, Spector, was charged with the first-degree murder of Lana Clarkson. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty. If convicted, he could receive a life sentence with the possibility of parole. Spector has three forensic scientists and coroners willing to testify that Lana's death was a result of a self-inflicted shot.
Phil Spector is currently free on $1 million bail.
Kari & Associates
Copyright Kari Sable 1994-2006
Reckless: Millionaire Record Producer Phil Spector and the Violent Death of Lana Clarkson -- In the early morning hours of February 3, 2003, police were summoned to the spooky Alhambra, California castle of legendary music producer Phil Spector. There they discovered the body of actress Lana Clarkson, dying in a chair, shot through the mouth. Spector claimed she had killed herself, but was soon charged with murder. The pop music genius, who revolutionized music from the Beatles to the Ramones, was making headlines again. But Spector, notorious for his eccentric behavior, volatile temper, and fascination with guns, pleaded innocent. What really happened on that fateful pre-dawn morning in Spector's hilltop mansion? As the controversial wunderkind's life of fame, money, and excess was coming undone, a true Hollywood mystery was about to unfold.
Wall of Pain: The Biography of Phil Spector by Dave Thompson -- Coinciding with his trial on charges of first degree murder, this is a perspective on the reclusive, eccentric record producer. Phil Spector changed the way pop records were produced by creating the Wall of Sound effect, which featured soaring orchestration and multilayered vocals. Spector worked with the biggest names in the business - the Beatles, Ike and Tina Turner, The Ramones, and the Ronettes. The book is a compilation of interviews over many years by people close to Spector: friends, business associates, and romantic interests. It includes recent interviews with ex-wife Ronnie Spector, close friend Doc Pomus, cowriter Ellie Greenwich, session singer Darlene Love, engineer Larry Levine, rock 'n' roll historian Michael Oaks, and more.
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