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What Drove Music Legend Phil Spector To Fatally Shoot An Actress In His Castle-Style Mansion

Legendary music producer Phil Spector, who worked with The Beatles and more, was convicted of murdering actress Lana Clarkson in his Los Angeles-area home in 2003.

By Gina Tron

Phil Spector was a world-renowned music producer who became a self-made millionaire by age 21. Among his many successes, he produced music for The Ronettes, Ike and Tina Turner, and George Harrison and John Lennon's solo albums. Spector was the man behind hits like “Da Doo Ron Ron.” He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.

However, he's equally known for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson. She was fatally shot inside Spector’s 35-room mansion, known as the “Pyrenees Castle,” in Alhambra, California on February 3, 2003.

Clarkson, age 40 at her death, had small roles in iconic '80s films like "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "Scarface." She also made appearances on television shows like "Three's Company," "The Jeffersons," "Who's the Boss?" and "Knight Rider."

RELATED: What Has Ronnie Spector Said About Her Marriage To Phil Spector?

At the time of her death, she was working as a hostess at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, where she had met Spector. He invited her back to his home, where she'd be found shot dead, slouched in a chair, from a single gunshot to the mouth, according to court documents. She was wearing her purse when she died.

Phil Spector G

Spector would then tell his driver, who made the initial 911 call, "I think I killed somebody," according to court documents. The driver would also allege Spector left the house with a gun.

Later, Spector claimed that Clarkson killed herself, telling a police officer, "I don't know where she got the gun from, but she started waving it around." He even told Esquire in July 2003 she "kissed the gun" as he continued to describe it as "an accidental suicide."

The first murder trial for Clarkson’s death, which was televised, was declared a mistrial after it ended in a hung jury in 2007. However, he was found guilty of second-degree murder in 2009, according to the New York Times

Prosecutors had alleged that Spector shoved a gun into Clarkson's mouth and pulled the trigger after she rebuffed his advances and attempted to leave the Castle. Five women also took the stand to accuse Spector of threatening them with guns before, CNN reported. He had two firearms-related convictions before Clarkson's death as well.

Spector's defense team, meanwhile, argued that the actress was frustrated with her struggling career and turned the gun on herself.

He was sentenced to 19 years to life in prison, according to the Los Angeles Times. He unsuccessfully attempted to appeal this sentence multiple times.

In January 2021, Spector passed away at the age of 81 from COVID-19 complications, according to this daughter Nicole Audrey Spector, reported The New York Times. He would've been up for parole in 2024.

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