Phil Spector, the notorious record producer who ended up in prison over the high-profile murder of an actress, has died at the age of 80, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
“California Health Care Facility inmate Phillip Spector, 80, was pronounced deceased of natural causes at 6:35 p.m. on Saturday, January 16, 2021, at an outside hospital. His official cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner in the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office,” a press statement from the department read.
“Spector was admitted from Los Angeles County on June 5, 2009, for second-degree murder. He had been sentenced to 19 years to life for the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson,” the statement reads. “Before his incarceration, Spector was an influential record producer, musician and songwriter best known for developing a music production technique called the ‘wall of sound.’”
Here’s what you need to know:
Spector Was Known for Producing the ‘Wall of Sound’
Rolling Stone called Spector a “monumentally influential music producer whose ‘Wall of Sound’ style revolutionized the way rock music was recorded in the early 1960s.”
According to TMZ, Spector produced sound for Ronettes, the Crystals, Darlene Love and the Righteous Brothers, calling them “little symphonies for the kids.”
Some of the world’s most famous musicians praised Spector’s production abilities. “He’s timeless,” Brian Wilson said of Spector in 1966, according to Rolling Stone. “He makes a milestone whenever he goes into the studio and this has helped the Beach Boys evolve.”
Bruce Springsteen concurred, saying, “Phil’s records felt like near chaos, violence covered in sugar and candy … little three–minute orgasms, followed by oblivion. And Phil’s greatest lesson was sound. Sound is its own language.”
Spector Was Diagnosed With COVID-19 a Month Ago
The news that Spector had died was broken by TMZ.
The entertainment site says the cause of death is COVID-19 complication. The man behind some of the music world’s biggest hits was diagnosed with COVID about a month ago, but returned from the prison after being hospitalized, according to TMZ.
He developed trouble breathing and died on January 16, 2021, according to TMZ.
Spector Was Convicted in the Death of Actress Lana Clarkson
Convicted murderer and former music producer Phil Spector has died, reportedly from #COVID19 complications, at 81.
That's 41 years longer than his victim Lana Clarkson lived.#RIPLanaClarkson https://t.co/lMXth1Qcfp pic.twitter.com/tsE0mqRRKU
— Gigi Graciette (@GigiGraciette) January 17, 2021
It all came crashing down with the death of actress Lana Clarkson. According to her IMDB profile, Clarkson had roles in many well-known televisions series, such as Knight Rider, Three’s Company, The Jeffersons, The A-Team, Night Court, and more.
She also had a role in the 1982 classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High, playing Mrs. Vargas and the 1983 movie Deathstalker and 1985 movie Barbarian Queen. Considered a cult favorite, she interacted with fans at comic book conventions, according to IMDB.
She was shot to death at Spector’s mansion in Alhambra, California, on February 3, 2003. According to InTouchWeekly, Clarkson met Spector at West Hollywood’s House of Blues, where she worked as a VIP hostess. She was found shot to death with a gunshot wound to the mouth in a chair inside Spector’s home.
One key witness was his driver, who said he heard a gunshot and then saw Spector emerge from the house with a gun saying, “I think I killed someone.”
“I’d like Mr. Spector to tell the truth. I’d like him to tell everyone what happened,” Donna Clarkson, Lana’s mother, told ABC News.
According to ABC, Spector claimed Clarkson “kissed the gun” and killed herself, but her family never believed it, and he was convicted of her murder. Testimony in court revealed a dark side to the musician as other women testified he waved guns around at them, ABC reported.
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