Producer Phil Spector was indicted today in the murder of actress Lana Clarkson on February 3rd of last year. The forty-year-old Clarkson was found shot in the face at Spector’s residence in Alhambra, near Los Angeles.
The Bronx-born Spector is the producer of such legendary Sixties singles as the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” and Ike and Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High.” Spector’s Wall of Sound production style gave the pop songs a symphonic feel through the overdubbing of orchestral arrangements. In the Seventies he produced the Beatles’ Let It Be — as well as solo projects for John Lennon and George Harrison — but Spector had become an eccentric recluse, holing up in his Alhambra home. (Punk giants the Ramones recounted being barred from leaving Spector’s mansion for the entire, drawn-out recording of 1979’s End of the Century.) In 1989, Spector was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Clarkson and the sixty-three-year-old Spector had left the House of Blues, where she worked as a hostess, and driven together to Spector’s home in his black Mercedes sedan. The veteran actress — who was featured in movies such as Barbarian Queen and in TV series such as Three’s Company and The A-Team — was found dead in Spector’s foyer when the police responded to a 5 a.m. emergency call from the producer’s chauffeur, Adriano Desouza. The handgun used to shoot Clarkson was found on the scene. Spector was arrested, but freed the next day on $1 million bail.
Desouza has told police that he saw Spector walk out of the mansion with the .38-caliber Colt revolver in his hand and say, “I think I just shot her.” Prosecutors claim that investigators discovered the actress’ blood and gunshot residue on Spector’s clothing, and that he attempted to clean the weapon. Spector, meanwhile, maintains that Clarkson shot herself.
Initially represented by Robert Shapiro, known for his defense of O.J. Simpson, Spector is now working with Mafia kingpin John Gotti’s attorney, Bruce Cutler. When the case goes to trial — as early as December 16th — Spector faces a sentence of life without parole.