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Phil Spector gets 19 years to life for murder

by Danielle Berrin

May 29, 2009 | 5:29 pm

Wacky music producer Phil Spector who last April was convicted of the murder of actress Lana Clarkson has been sentenced to 19 years to life in prison.

Spector was once one of the most sought after music producers in the industry, having worked with the Ronettes, the Beatles, Tina Turner and the Rolling Stones. As respected as he was for his talent and trademark Wall of Sound technique, he was also known as a short-tempered bully.

Many have speculated that Spector’s tragic childhood produced a mentally imbalanced adult. He was brought up in a working class Jewish family in the Bronx. When he was 9 years-old his father committed suicide. With no male model, Spector had only his bulllying mother to turn to, who instead of nurturing him, inflicted psychological abuse. Spector’s sister spent time in a mental institution and later in life, Spector became known for behaving violently towards women. 

The climax of that flaw occurred the night he invited Clarkson to his home. The two had met at Sunset Boulevard’s House of Blues where Clarkson, a B-movie actress, took a bar tending job to pay the bills. Later that night she was found dead in Spector’s home, with a gunshot wound to the mouth. Spector’s lawyers claimed she was despondent over her failing career and committed suicide.

Reuters reports:

Spector, 69, who revolutionized pop music in the 1960s with his layered “Wall of Sound” production technique, was convicted in April of second-degree murder by a Los Angeles jury after a second trial. The first trial ended in a deadlock in 2007.

Lana Clarkson, 40, a B-movie actress, died of a shot to the mouth, fired from Spector’s gun in the foyer of his mock castle home outside Los Angeles on February 3, 2003. The two had met hours earlier at a Hollywood nightclub.

The sentence means that Spector must spend at least 19 years in prison before being eligible for parole. If not paroled, he will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Spector, who worked with The Ronettes, The Beatles, Cher and Leonard Cohen at the height of his fame, denied murdering Clarkson but did not testify at either trial.

Phil Spector’s murder conviction and his troubled childhood

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Danielle Berrin writes the Hollywood Jew blog, a cutting edge, values-based take on the entertainment industry for jewishjournal.com. A Los Angeles Times profile dubbed her...

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