HOLLYWOOD HILLS—Music producer and convicted killer Harvey Phillip Spector, 81, best known for his production of rock music’s “Wall of Sound” died on Saturday, January 17 in a California state prison. Spector died as a result of complications from COVID-19.
In 2003, Spector was convicted for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson, who starred in “Barbarian Queen” and several other movies. Clarkson was found dead from a gunshot wound in the foyer of Spector’s home. In 2009, Spector was sentenced to 19 years to life in prison.
According to reports, during Spector’s life, Tom Wolfe declared Phil as the “first tycoon of teen.” Brian Wilson and Bruce Springsteen copied his recording method and John Lennon called Spector, “the greatest record producer ever.”
During the early part of Spector’s career in 1959, he worked with the Teddy Bears. In 1969, Phil worked with the Beatles. He later worked with Tina Turner, Leonard Cohen, Darlene Love, and Ronnie Spector, and numerous other artists. Spector was declared a millionaire by the age of 21.
For many years he was accused of being a tyrant in the industry with reports of waving a handgun at artists in the studio and making verbal threats.
Spector’s first marriage was to Annette Merar, in 1963, then he married lead singer Veronica Ronnie Bennett of the group, the Ronettes in 1968, six years later they were divorced. He married Janis Lynn Zavala in 1982 and had twins, Nicole, and Phillip Jr. Phillip died of leukemia when he was 10 years old.
After Clarkson’s death, Phil Spector married actress and singer Rachelle Short, 26, six months before his murder trial. He filed for divorce from Short in 2016.
In 2003, according to witnesses, Clarkson reluctantly agreed to leave with Spector from the House of Blues in West Hollywood, on February 3 where Clarkson was employed. Spector and Clarkson entered his mansion. A chauffeur reported Spector came out of the house holding a gun, blood on his hands, and told him, “I think I killed somebody.”
Phil told his friends that Lana shot herself, while he remained free on a $1 million bond. It took a year before charges were filed against Spector. He confessed in a court deposition that he had been on medication for eight years for manic depression.
“No sleep, depression, mood changes, mood swings, hard to live with, hard to concentrate, just hard — a hard time getting through life,” Spector said. “I’ve been called a genius and I think a genius is not there all the time and has borderline insanity.”
Spector was indicted for murder at the age of 60, and angrily told reporters and authorities that: “The actions of the Hitler-like DA and his storm trooper, henchmen are reprehensible, unconscionable and despicable.”